Tollef Monson and Adelia Myrick spend the summer in Alaska, where they fish out of open 23-foot skiffs and pull up nets of salmon by hand. Now they’re spending the winter in the CARAG neighborhood, selling their salmon at venues like Calhoun Square and the Northeast Farmers Market.
Monson said he first traveled to Alaska at age 21 “in search of more winter.”
“I was born and raised in Minneapolis, so I wasn’t afraid of it,” he said.
He spent time mushing sled dogs at Iditarod and joined a commercial fishing crew five miles from Myrick, who had fished her entire life with her family on Uganik Bay. They met and eventually fell in love on Uganik Bay, a spot without roads or telephones that’s famous for brown bears.
“Our mail comes once a week by float plane,” Monson said.
He described their last night in Alaska at their waterfront home on the bay. Something woke him up, and he wondered if it was a Grizzly on the porch or the wood stove popping.
“I cracked a window and listened, and I realized it was the sound of humpback whales breaching over and over in the night,” he said. “It was loud enough to wake me up.”
To make the trek to Minnesota the following day, they bundled up in fur hats and boated 60 miles to reach Kodiak city.
“This is a dream that has been a few years in the making,” Myrick said. “Fish in the summer and sell directly to people in the wintertime, rather than cobble together various different jobs. …. We’re changing our lives in order to live the way we want, in more remote Kodiak, Alaska. It’s really gratifying.”
Soul Mate Salmon’s sockeye salmon fillets (flash frozen and vacuum-sealed) and smoked coho salmon portions (smoked with four ingredients and ready to eat) are wild and therefore free of antibiotics, dyes and genetic modifications.
“Minnesotans know fish and they appreciate good quality fish,” Monson said.
The sale at Calhoun Square runs every Saturday from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. (or until they sell out), and Soul Mate Salmon offers free delivery in the metro.