Saturday, December 22, 2012

City Grinch Steals Salmon Seller's Christmas

Erik Torp
The city's Department of Public Health was the Grinch that stole Christmas for one retailer at the Reading Terminal market this past week. It shut down Taste of Norway, which since September had been selling smoked Norwegian Atlantic and steelhead salmon from a daystall located in the former Coastal Cave space.

Erik Torp, one of the two entrepreneurs behind the business, said the health inspector was "just doing his job" and couldn't have been nicer in carrying out his duties. But the shut down on Thursday couldn't have come at a worse time: the height of the Christmas and New Year's food shopping season.

For now you can still purchase the half-pound packages of smoked Norwegian Atlantic and steelhead salmon at Downtown Cheese where proprietor Jack Morgan has, at least temporarily, taken on the line. And at $10 for a half-pound package, it's a bargain for a quality product.

Giving out free samples of salmon is what first attracted the health inspector's attention, but the basic reason for the shut down is that the business didn't have a retail food establishment license. Torp has no problem paying the fee, but it could take months to obtain one, he said.

"We look on this as a temporary setback," said Torp, who serves as Norway's honorary consul in Philadelphia, where he owns and operates a shipping brokerage as his main business.

"Our supplier in Norway is very happy with the exposure their product is getting, and the Reading Terminal Market is a unique place to be," he said. For that reason Torp hopes to reopen in the space Nanee's Kitchen will be vacating when the South Asian eatery moves to the Coastal Cave space. This time, with a retail food license.

Looking even further into the future Torp said he'd love to sell salmon sandwiches. But that would involve even more certifications from the city.

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