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Telling Alaska’s Story: Bambino’s Baby Food forms new salmon partnership with Bristol Bay Native Corp.

Published: Sep. 20, 2021 at 6:49 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - At the Bambino’s Baby Food retail store in Spenard, the offerings don’t look like the baby food most people are accustomed to.

First off, all the products are frozen, and the best seller is something called Sockeye Salmon Bisque that comes in little frozen star shapes. The main ingredients, according to Bambino’s founder Zoi Maroudas, are Bristol Bay sockeye salmon, carrots, celery, olive oil and a small amount of rice.

“We want children to get that nourishment directly from the foods, not from fortification,” Maroudas said. “To build those healthy eating habits and have exposure to seafood and have exposure to carrots and celery and onions and olive oil, that Mediterranean foundation. That way they can grow and eat healthy and whatever is at the family table becomes a natural contribution to their diet as well.”

Since 2015, Maroudas has been making and marketing organic baby food featuring nutritious Alaska ingredients. She partners with farmers in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough for fresh produce and gets her salmon from Bristol Bay.

“Yes, we are supporting local, but we are also sharing that abundance, that purity and quality that no other state can offer,” she said.

Her business has grown as well. Maroudas said her subscription service ships an average of 200 orders a week to destinations that include the Lower 48 and several foreign countries. More recently, her products became available at every Carrs-Safeway store in the state.

Maroudas said helping families learn more about the food they eat is an important part of her mission.

“Sharing that story, where your food is coming from to your table,” she said.

Soon, she’ll be sharing even more. A new partnership with Bristol Bay Native Corp. will help educate customers about the wild salmon that’s a prime ingredient in her baby food.

Andria Agli, who is with the corporation, said they want to spread the word that Alaska’s wild salmon are a sustainable resource that is harvested responsibly.

“The importance of the wild fishery in Bristol Bay and what they mean to the people in the region,” Agli said. “That’s a message that we’ve been promoting and continue to promote, and opportunities like this allow us to do that.”

The plan, which is still being developed, is to pack traditional recipes, stories about salmon, the region and its people in every box shipped out.

Maroudas said she’s hoping to give people a taste of Alaska they can’t experience anywhere else.

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