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A caviar niche: Even more growth is ahead for Miami Gardens-based Marky’s – Business Monday –


From the Belgian chocolate on your hotel pillow to the delicate cheeses at your specialty grocer and the caviar you’re served onboard a cruise, all likely have one thing in common: Marky’s Group imported and distributed the gourmet products — and soon may even have a hand in manufacturing them.

Miami Gardens-based Marky’s, founded 30 years ago as a small retail store on 79th Street in Miami, has morphed far beyond that into an international wholesaler with a variety of other related subsidiaries, including an aquafarm that raises sturgeon, which is in line to become the sole United States producer of Beluga caviar.

CNN – All you need to know about caviar

CNN - Featured StoryArticle by: Anastasia Anashkina

Caviar’s flavor and price can vary greatly depending on the type of fish, and the size, color and shape of the egg.

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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.

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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.


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

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.

REUTERS – Beluga caviar poised for a comeback – in Florida

March 8 – Facing extinction in the wild, the highly-prized beluga sturgeon may be about to make a comeback from a new base in the United States. A Florida company is breeding the fish to produce sought-after beluga caviar for profit, but must first demonstrate that it is helping the fish recover in the wild. Evelyn Gruber reports.

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Spawning Economic Growth

Russian Émigré envisions Panhandle as caviar capital

By Lazaro Aleman

A wetsuit-clad Mark Zaslavsky clambers over the rim of one of four indoor galvanized steel tanks and into waist-high water, home to several of his prized Beluga sturgeon — magnificent long-nosed, dark-colored fish that measure about five feet long and weigh a couple of hundred pounds apiece. The sturgeon, part of 13 separate shipments of juvenile fish that Zaslavsky personally escorted from Europe via commercial flights in 2003, now serve as broodstock for his large-scale aquaculture operation in Jackson County.

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Florida-raised sturgeon on the menu at Miami market, North Miami bistro


Baked Sturgeon with Sour Cream

Another firm, white-fleshed fish such as carp, sole or swordfish can be used in this recipe adapted from “The Russian Heritage Cookbook” by Lynn Visson (Overlook, 2009). Serve with boiled potatoes.

4 (6-ounce) sturgeon fillets
6 tablespoons butter, divided
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a baking dish. Place fillets in dish and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place 1 tablespoon butter on each one. Bake 15 minutes. Melt remaining butter. Remove dish from oven and spread sour cream over the fish. Drizzle with melted butter and sprinkle with dill. Return to oven and bake 6 minutes. Makes 4 servings.

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