We recently dropped in to see what was new at Rod’s Food at ReefAPalooza and started chatting with Rod Buehler, the company’s founder, about the growing trend in the hobby about fresh foods made from high-quality ingredients.
Going in any LFS and you’ll see plenty of new labels in the “premium” food category, but Rod’s Food is still thriving and is one of the first entrepreneurs to head down this path. Rod has a great story and its worth reading his background on his website sometime, but for nearly 15 years Rod’s Food is still going strong while others enter the market. Why?
As we started into the conversation we were briefly joined by Sanjay Joshi who even noted Rod’s Food help start the “feeding frenzy” and we have to agree. Asking if he has anything new coming out, we looked over his brochure pretty much noting he’s got all the major categories covered and is happy about the selections.
It has to be something with the food itself then, being near a major seaport where he can literally get the fresh product? Not really. Living in Illinois, he about as far from the ocean as you can get, but its worth noting that Chicago is home of a robust wholesale fish market giving Rod’s team carte blanche at selecting a wide range of quality fresh seafood to build his recipes from. In fact, he noted they are one of the top customers of a major supplier who also happens to supply a lot of the top restaurants in the Midwest.
You can see the passion in bringing quality food to the hobby and market when you talk with Rod and there was a steady stream of people dropping by to pick up packs of Rod’s Food the entire time we chatted, and didn’t appear to be slowing down.
His process starts with quality fish that rinsed multiple times in RO/DI water to ensure there is no sodium tripolyphosphate (STPP), a preservative often used even in the freshest seafood. They use dry ice to maintain the perfect particle size and keep the food temperature below 40 degrees to avoid bacterial growth and preserve freshness.
They note that while their fresh seafood is chopped up, the Mysis-sized pacific plankton (E. pacifica) and krill (E. superba) are marinated in solutions of super concentrated highly-unsaturated fatty acids (HUFAs), astaxanthin, and beta carotene that will keep your reef and fishes healthy and vibrant.
Finally, small particle foods made for corals and other small mouths are added, and they website notes they are loaded with a slurry of rotifers, copepods, fish eggs, freshly hatched baby brine, and mini-pellets. These are all gently stirred, put in the hopper where they are measured and bagged, then -30 to -40 degrees until shipping.
It sounds like a great process and if you talk to any Rod’s Food fan, they’ll be sure to tell you how much they like it. It was great catching up with Rod and if he’s at a show you going to, make sure you stop by and say “Hi!”