by Morri Mostow
Sutton sushi supplier switches outlets in Knowlton
Attention Knowlton sushi lovers: Don’t despair! With the closing of La Poire Dorée natural food store, you can now find your favorite fresh sushi next door at Marché Jimmy. Sutton’s Vanha Fish Market will begin delivering a dozen of its most popular varieties of sushi — vegetarian, cooked (shrimp or crab) and raw fish — to Jimmy’s on Fridays, and more often during the busy summer months. Customers can also order more than 40 different kinds of Vanha sushi at Jimmy’s.
Sushi has become an important niche for John Vanha and his wife Lise Charbonneau, who have been in the fish business in Sutton for almost 30 years. Along with their prospering fish business, they are also Canada’ leading manufacturer of lobster tanks.
Owner John Vanha says that sushi must be made with the freshest of fish — a natural for Vanha Village Fish Market, which supplies fish to the region’s fish stores, grocery stores, restaurants, golf courses and inns. “Because of our huge volume, we always have fresh, high quality products,” explains Vanha, who buys most of his fish directly from fisher co-ops in Canada and imports directly from Hawaii and Japan.
When the Vanhas opened their Sutton retail fish store six years ago, they looked for a value-added fresh-fish product to offer local shoppers. Sushi fit the bill and was an instant hit. At first, a Japanese chef made their sushi. Since learning the art of sushi from two traditional Japanese chefs, the Vanhas now make it themselves.
Every year, the Vanhas attend the biggest international fish shows, where they find all the newest sushi products, like the new lines of smoked eel and raw yellow-tailed tuna they now incorporate in their sushi. Over the last year, they’ve introduced a Japanese seaweed salad, a divine concoction combining two types of marinated seaweed, with sesame oil and sesame seeds. They have just returned from this year’s show in Boston, where they picked up new salads (calamar, octopus and seafood) and new types of tofu, which will be on sale at Vanha’s in coming months. Their store carries all the sushi fixings so that customers rolling their own can find everything they need, including exotic vegetables and tofu.
In addition to supplying sushi to Knowlton, Vanha’s also supplies the Metro Lussier in Waterloo, the IGA Lefebvre in Granby, plus several Montreal-area stores. Very soon, its sushi will be available in Cowansville, Farnham, Richelieu, Magog and Sherbrooke. To ensure that every outlet gets a sufficient volume of sales, Vanha’s supplies just one outlet exclusively in each town. Vanha’s goes even further by running sushi workshops so that its outlets can advise customers properly about sushi’s quality, nutritional value and typical serving portions.
“When you’re eating raw fish, it has to be fresh,” says Vanha. “We are very selective. Our fish has to come from unpolluted waters and be raised in an ecologically friendly way. We like to know how our farm fish are raised and what they are fed. Our goal is to sell quality products through knowledgeable merchants.”
Marché Jimmy Tradition, 242 Knowlton Road, Knowlton. Tel: (450) 242-1144.
Poissonnerie du Village Vanha, 27 Principale Nord, Sutton. Tel: (450) 538-FISH www.poissonnerievanha.qc.ca
A Mother’s Day draw on May 12 will help launch Knowlton’s newest catering service, Sushi Chez Vous. What’s the prize? Sushi for 12 prepared in your own kitchen by owner/chef Chris Marks, who will even bring the chopsticks! Entry forms are available at Virgo Catering (255 Knowlton Road) and Hurricane Grace (285 Knowlton Road).
Sushi Chez Vous. For reservations call (450) 242-0834
Last month, the Brome Lake Chamber of Commerce hosted its first breakfast to welcome new businesses to the Town of Brome Lake. “We’re returning to our original mandate ‘to bring businesses together for the betterment of the community’,” explains Ian Warnock, now into his second term as Chamber president. A welcoming committee chaired by Mireille Lemaître invited several new and established businesses to Le Relais in downtown Knowlton, where they discussed issues of common interest over breakfast.
New business owners were Joanne Wallace Vachon from Bright Colors (an art supplies service) and her husband, Peter Vachon, from PCV & Associates; Angela Pieracini and Larry Norton of Frostys Bistro (formerly Cedrics), all in Knowlton, and Albert and Martine Haller of The Eagle’s Nest B&B, in Brome.
Sharing their experiences with the newcomers were Knowlton businesswomen Jodi Mallinson, owner of Hurricane Grace, Debbie Hornig, manager of Woolrich, and Jeannette LeBlanc, owner of Eureka!.
“We want to make new business people feel welcome and give them an opportunity to network,” says Lemaître. “The event also lets us explain the Chamber’s role in the community.”
Established business owners interested in sharing their expertise with new businesses at an upcoming welcome breakfast should call the Chamber at (450) 242-2870. www.cclacbrome.qc.ca