It’s Harvest Time

Black River’s first shipment of 2023 Oscietra just arrived. Our harvest started on April 5 this year, a little later than last year because of historically high, end-of-summer temperatures in Uruguay. Since our fish are raised in flowing water channeled direct from the Rio Negro, and not in temperature controlled tanks, the fish take their biologic cues for spawning from natural water temperatures. Like sturgeon in the wild, we wait on Mother Nature.

Quality is always our North Star. From experience our team knows to delay harvest until the water temperature in the Rio Negro drops below 22 C / 72 F. For our unique Southern Hemisphere sturgeon population it's the cooler autumn temperature that signals the need to allocate energy to reproduction and the development of healthy roe for spawning.

We know that as our fish progress towards maturation even the smallest disturbance in their surroundings can stress out all the fish, and this undue stress ultimately impacts the final quality of our caviar. Sturgeon are extremely sensitive to water temperature and their environment, so changes make a difference.

Our goal is to maintain a natural, stress-free environment for our fish. Our reward is that this year's Oscietra caviar is stunning!

Black River Caviar Raceway Basins in Autumn

How We Do iT

As a rule, harvesting sturgeon (Acipenser gueldenstaedtii) in a farmed aquaculture environment only happens after long periods of observation to determine which fish are ready, and when they are ready. We ultrasound and biopsy each fish to track roe development, then our skilled aquaculture team diligently stages and selects females for harvest when their roe is at peak development.

Deciding which fish are ready to harvest and when the optimal time will be requires careful measurement and observation.

Black River Caviar Biopsy

To determine whether a fish is ready for harvest, we take a biopsy sample of a few eggs.

Black River Caviar Grading

Each egg from the biopsy sample of each fish is measured. We average the egg diameters to grade by size. We then decide whether it is ready to harvest.

Screening Roe Black River

Once harvested, the roe sac is gently screened to separate the individual eggs and remove the membrane. The roe falls through into a plastic bowl underneath the screen.

Rinsing Roe Black River Caviar

We rinse the roe thoroughly with mineral water and drain it through a fine sieve. The team then hand-combs the caviar and plucks out any irregular roe.

Black River Caviar Salting Roe

When the roe is fully cleaned, our Caviar Master salts the roe to achieve the correct salt concentration and mixes it thoroughly.

Black River Caviar Filling OT

The caviar is then packed in Original Tins – or OT’s –large plastic tins that hold up to 1.8kg. This is the tin that will age the caviar until it is repacked into smaller, metal tins.

Black River's new 2023 caviar offers the perfect chance to discover and taste spectacular fresh Oscietra caviar delivered farm-direct to your door. Our first shipment also includes the limited-quantity Special Lot Imperial Reserve - a really large, dark colored caviar that is exquisitely rich and intense.

Shop Caviar and select any grade of our Oscietra to discover the complex flavors and beautifully clean, pure finish unique to Black River.