Sorce Freshwater Company is pushing a new mindset and process to take Asian Carp out of the Illinois river and put it in your mouth.
If you were in the mood for free food , there was a chance to pick up some Asian Carp snacks in East Peoria's Levee District and at Kelleher's Irish Pub and Eatery in Peoria on Saturday.
Owner and president of Sorce Enterprises Roy Sorce said the freshwater company's goal is to reduce 15 million pounds of Asian Carp from the Peoria pool of the Illinois River next year. This reduces the population and prevents them from harming the ecosystems of native Illinois fish and plants.
"It reduces the pressure of going north which will help protect the great lakes which is a seven billion dollar industry which they are extremely worried about the fish getting into," Sorce said.
The carp can be used for pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, fertilizer and a tasty snack. This is because Sorce has developed a new way to process the carp into a clean, minced product.
The company partnered with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the Midwest Fish Co-op to host statewide tastings today. Director of IDNA, Colleen Callahan said Asian Carp is a high source of protein, omega and jobs.
"We're talking about an infrastructure here now," Cahllahan said. "It takes commercial fisherman, it takes processors, it takes distributors, and so now we're talking about job creation as well."
Now it's about creating a demand for consumers. The local effort is hosting events like these tastings.
"It's an opportunity to help feed the hungry not only here in our own communities but in locations across the world that are starved for a protein source," Callahan said
Pat Sullivan said the fish is sweet and versatile to work with: he can pan and air fry it.
"It just wakes your taste buds up," Sullivan said. "It's just shocking everybody … that's what's neat. They say, 'that's carp from our river?' Yes."
Sullivan said it might just be on his menu for future customers.
"Just try it. Just keep an open mind. If you don't like it, you don't like it, but I think one of my recipes will be on top of their list."
More information can be found at www.sorcefreshwater.com/.