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St. Albert’s Lenten fish dinners to feature sustainable tilapia

Posted on 23 January 2018 by calvin

By MARGIE O’LOUGHLIN
The parish of St. Albert the Great Catholic Church will once again throw its doors open wide during the six Fridays of Lent. Beginning Fri., Feb. 6, parishioners, guests, and neighbors are welcome to enjoy the baked and fried fish dinners featuring tilapia from Regal Springs, a company with the distinction of being the #1 producer of natural tilapia in the world.

Brian Arvold, a long-standing St. Albert’s parishioner, has been running the kitchen side of the Lenten fish dinners for the last five years. A chiropractor who owns his own business, he said, “I’m a frugal man, and I work hard at getting the best possible prices for the products we use for this event.”

This year, he plans to order 2,500 lbs. of tilapia from Regal Springs, which he hopes will be more than enough to feed the 1,500 or 1,600 people that will fill the church dining hall every Friday during Lent. According to Arvold, “This event, now in its 22nd year, has really taken on a life of its own. It’s our biggest fundraiser, and it has all the elements of a three-ring circus—with tartar sauce.”

Why does Arvold choose tilapia over cod, the traditional mainstay of fish dinners? ”It’s a moister, lighter fish that blends well with whatever it’s cooked with.” He added, “We use lemon juice, oregano, and Zatarain’s Spices from New Orleans to give our dinners their distinctive flavor.”

From a health standpoint, tilapia is an excellent choice for any kitchen because it’s a fish that has a mostly vegetarian diet. It also tends to be short-lived, which means that mercury doesn’t build up in its tissues. The Regal Springs tilapia are raised from hatch to harvest in large, floating pens in clean lakes. For optimal health and development, their tilapia are fed a nutritious, grain-based diet. Fish that are raised this way don’t eat the algae, mud, or shallow pond waste that wild or irresponsibly farmed tilapia might be exposed to.

Arvold and his team are looking forward to this year’s Lenten dinners. He said, ”We literally had to write a manual about how to produce this event. At least 120 people volunteer every Friday night; last year we served 7,100 meals. I just placed an order for sixteen cases of tartar sauce, which would be enough to fill a bathtub to overflowing. For a small church, the scale of this event is amazing.

St. Albert the Great Catholic Church is located at 2836 33rd Ave. S. Cost for attending this year’s dinner will be $12 for adults (no senior discount), $6 for ages 6-12, and free for 5 and under.

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