Monthly Archives: June 2013

RUSSIAN CAVIAR – MADE IN THE USA

MIAMI – Think of Russia when you think caviar? Think again. Sturgeon AquaFarms (SAF) in the tiny town of Bascom, Florida boasts more beluga sturgeon than the Caspian Sea.

Sturgeon AquaFarmsThe company began importing live Caspian beluga and sevruga in 2003 – just two years before mounting international pressure forced the U.S. to ban the import of beluga-related products. It is now the only company in the U.S. authorized to raise beluga sturgeon.

SAF started selling limited editions of caviar in 2012, and by 2014 it expects to begin harvesting upwards of 2 tons of caviar a year from its stock of sturgeon that includes beluga, sevruga, Russian osetra, and sterlet – which currently retails in Europe for $10,00-15,000/kilogram.

“It’s incredible to see life unfold in front of you, especially that of a species you can no longer find in the wild,” says co-founder Mark Zaslavsky, a Russian emigrant who along with his partner, Mark Gelman, also owns the famed Miami-based gourmet foods importer, Marky’s Group.

A skilled team of scientists and 30 years of expertise in the caviar industry are now starting to reap rewards for Zaslavsky and Gelman. In 2011 their beluga spawned three times – reproducing some 21,000 sturgeon – making SAF the largest beluga aqua farm in the world.

Optimal conditions

It’s not just the beluga that is helping the company make its mark. Located on a pristine 120-acre site in northern Florida, about 100,000 sturgeon are being raised in pure, drinking-grade quality water. In the wild, it may take a sturgeon 15-18 years to reach maturity and start producing eggs. But at SAF, with optimal conditions like a constant water temperature of 21 degrees Celsius, the company has been able to reproduce eggs and fish in two-to-five years in some species.

The company began delivering a limited quantity of sevruga caviar to Whole Foods and select restaurants in 2012 and will continue this year with a small increase in volumes. According to Zaslavsky, there are only 100 kilograms of sevruga caviar on the world market.

The company also recently introduced sterlet– once considered the most prominent fish of royal Russian cuisine – as a whole fresh fish to upscale markets and restaurants including Café Pushkin and the Riviera Grille & Sushi in New York.

Preservation of the species

Zaslavsky and Gelman saw a huge business opportunity as they watched the world population of sturgeon plummet more than 90 percent in the last 20 years due to overfishing and pollution. But they are also determined to help it survive. They are working with a team of Russian scientists to export fertilized eggs and experience to Russia and neighboring countries with the hope of restoring the world’s population of sturgeon.

“The motto of our farm is ‘preservation of the species’,” says Zaslavsky. “It’s an amazingly complex process, but we want to re-populate the Caspian Sea with our beluga.”

In the meantime, Zaslavsky and his partner will focus on the construction of a new caviar processing facility as they capitalize on their unique market position. While beluga sturgeon remains on the critically endangered species list and the fishing of wild beluga is prohibited, they are left with a monopoly on the U.S. production of beluga. Success never tasted so good.

For additional information, visit sturgeonaquafarms.com

About Marky’s Group, Inc:

Marky’s Group, Inc., founded in 1983, is the privately held parent company of all Marky’s branded distribution businesses, Sturgeon AquaFarms, Caviar & More and Marky’s Gourmet Retail Store. With locations in Miami, Panama and Europe, Marky’s manufactures, imports, exports, distributes and retails more than 8,000 gourmet foods and caviar worldwide to restaurants, hotels, retailers and consumers.

MARKY’S GROUP CELEBRATES 30TH ANNIVERSARY AT SUMMER FANCY FOOD SHOW

Visit Booth #2358 for daily demonstrations and information about Marky’s Caviar Certification Program, an industry first.

2013 Summer Fancy Food Show Logo

MIAMI (June 19, 2013) – Marky’s Group, Inc., the largest provider of caviar, foie gras and gourmet food in the U.S., is celebrating its 30th Anniversary with a signature booth at the Summer Fancy Food Show this year. And the sampling will be nothing short of spectacular.

“This is our most exclusive portfolio ever,” said Christopher Hlubb, President and COO of Marky’s Group, Inc. “We’ve recently been awarded exclusive importation for some of the best brands in their categories.”

These include, but are not limited to, Hacienda Guzman® Olive Oils (the olive grove which once belonged to Christopher Columbus), La Maja® Olive Oil (the best extra virgin olive oil in the price/quality category in the Flos Olei 2013), Hacienda Zorita® (an award-winning organic cheese farm in Spain), Pancracio® Chocolates and Chatka® gourmet King Crab.

Marky’s Group Corporate Chef, Marc Navailles, will be hosting cooking demonstrations and sampling events throughout the day June 30-July 2 at Booth #2358.

Here is the daily schedule:

  • 11 a.m.:  Spanish Deli® tortilla with Stromluga® caviar
  • 12 p.m.:  Royal Chef® paella from Spain
  • 1 p.m.:  Foie gras “doughnuts” with Albareda® Pedro Jimenez glaze
  • 2 p.m.:  Karat® Russian Osetra Caviar
  • 3 p.m.: The Cheeses of Spain
    • Hacienda Zorita sheep’s milk cheese
    • Emily® Membrillo (quince paste)
    • Fig and Date Cakes
  • 4 p.m.: Rabitos Royale® chocolate figs and Leonidas® Belgian chocolates

Marky’s will also be promoting its Caviar Certification program – the first of its kind in the industry – much like a master sommelier program, for retailers and consumers. To date, Marky’s has trained about 700 professionals from retailers and restaurants like Whole Foods, Costco, Azamara Club Cruises, the Setai, Wynn’s Market, and News Link. The course reviews the vast differences in caviar products, how to store it, how to serve it, how to pair it.

 As the crowning achievement of its 30th Anniversary, Marky’s will be the first U.S. distributor to possess Beluga Caviar since 2005. Sturgeon AquaFarms, a subsidiary of Marky’s Group, is the only aquafarm licensed to raise Beluga sturgeon in the U.S. The Beluga caviar is expected to hit the market in 2014.  Marky’s customers will begin to see other sturgeon products this year, including Sterlet – the preferred sturgeon of Russian royalty  – and the highly sought after Sevruga caviar.

For additional information, visit Marky’s Group at Booth #2358 or email pr@markysgroup.com.

About Marky’s Group, Inc:

Marky’s Group, Inc., founded in 1983, is the privately held parent company of all Marky’s branded distribution businesses, Sturgeon AquaFarms, Caviar & More and Marky’s Gourmet Retail Store. With locations in Miami, Panama and Europe, Marky’s manufactures, imports, exports, distributes and retails more than 8,000 gourmet foods and caviar worldwide to restaurants, hotels, retailers and consumers.

CHRISTOPHER HLUBB PROMOTED TO PRESIDENT and COO OF MARKY’S GROUP, INC.

MIAMI (June 6, 2013) – Marky’s Group, Inc. has announced that Christopher Hlubb has been promoted to President and Chief Operating Officer of the Miami-based gourmet food conglomerate. Christopher_Hlubb_headshot_reduced

A once aspiring neurosurgeon and prior genetic researcher at John Hopkins Hospital, Hlubb is now focused on changing the gourmet food industry. He left the laboratory in 2001 with his first foray into the private sector working in biomedicine. He then decided to pursue a more entrepreneurial role in the wine industry working with Chilean mega-cooperatives on the production of wines and other gourmet food products. After many years with some of the biggest names in retail, Hlubb accepted a position with Marky’s Caviar in Miami as Director of Corporate sales in 2010.

Hlubb has since revamped the entire infrastructure of the company. Last year he launched Marky’s Panama, after acquiring a local gourmet food distributor, and Marky’s Europe. In January 2013, Marky’s Group, Inc. was created as the parent company of Marky’s import and distribution business, Marky’s Gourmet Retail Store (formerly Marky’s Showroom in Miami), Caviar & More kiosks, Sturgeon Aquafarms, Marky’s Panama and the newly created subsidiaries in Europe.

“We made a strategic decision to expand our family business to that of a larger corporation,” said Marky’s Co-Founder Mark Zaslavsky.  “We are thrilled to have someone like Chris, with his business acumen and high level of expertise and experience in the gourmet food and wine categories, on our executive team.”

Hlubb’s busy schedule is focused on brand and product development, as well as the management of Marky’s Group’s rapidly expanding portfolio of subsidiaries in manufacturing, distribution and retail, both in the U.S. and abroad. He manages a team of more than 100, and at just 38, he is quickly emerging as a leader in the gourmet food industry.

Tapping into his experience in the wine industry, Hlubb created a program that mirrors the prestige of the internationally acclaimed Master Sommelier program for the caviar industry. To date, with the company’s caviar product manager, Marky’s has trained some 700 people from retailers and restaurants like Whole Foods, Specs, The Setai, Azamara Club Cruises, Costco and Acqualina.

“This is an exciting time to be working in the gourmet food industry,” said Hlubb. “Our goal is to change the face and structure of the gourmet industry by implementing local manufacturing of a larger portfolio of previously imported products while continuing to source the highest quality products worldwide.”

Among his favorite projects is Sturgeon AquaFarms, one of the subsidiaries of Marky’s Group, Inc. Sturgeon AquaFarms is the only aquafarm in the U.S. licensed to raise beluga sturgeon. The company successfully imported the beluga from Europe in 2003, just two years before the international ban took effect. And next year, in 2014, the company expects to be harvesting beluga caviar and re-introducing it to the American market. Other high-priority projects include the expansion of Caviar & More kiosks and Marky’s Gourmet Retail Stores worldwide with the first new sites to open in Panama in 2013 and New York soon after.

About Marky’s Group, Inc:

Marky’s Group, Inc., founded in 1983, is the privately held parent company of all Marky’s branded distribution businesses, Sturgeon Aquafarms, Caviar & More and Marky’s Gourmet Retail Store. With locations in Miami, Panama and Europe, Marky’s manufactures, imports, exports, distributes and retails more than 8,000 gourmet foods and caviar worldwide to restaurants, hotels, retailers and consumers.