My work as a food journalist takes me down some very interesting highways and byways, none more than this ‘fish milking’ adventure at Yarra Valley Caviar. Fish milking? It’s the gentle extracting of caviar from salmon and trout, and I was lucky enough to put on my milk-maiding gloves during May’s spawning season.
The fish are sedated in a pond that has a few drops of clove oil in it. This puts them to sleep for a few minutes, during which time they are gently hand-milked. Salmon carry around one fifth of their body weight in roe (eggs) and after milking they feel quite saggy around the middle.
Once all the roe has been ‘milked’, the fish are put back into a freshwater pond and within half an hour they are swimming happily with their buddies again.
Learn more in my video chat and farm visit with owner Nick Gorman.