BOTTINEAU, N.D. — Not many individuals would think that the Horticulture Department at Dakota College at Bottineau (DCB) would hold a fish fry every semester. On May 3rd, the horticulture practicum students were busy harvesting Tilapia. The Tilapia came from the aquaponics greenhouse that is located on campus. According to Keith Knudson, Department Chair and Instructor for the Horticulture Department, stated that “Tilapia are preferred for aquaponics systems because they are very tolerant to water quality and water temperature, which is ideal when teaching students how to properly care for aquaponics systems.” These fish are also very food tolerant, so you don’t have to spend a lot of money on expensive fish food.
While the students started harvesting the Tilapia on Tuesday, the process actually started on Sunday, May 1st, when Jess McInnes, horticulture student, transferred the fish to a clean purge tank where they stayed for two days. “Doing this essentially allows the fish’s system to flush out before harvesting to make sure the filets taste clean and fresh,” said Jess. On Tuesday, Jess got the assembly line ready by transferring the fish to an ice back to “shock” their system. The fish stayed in the ice bath for about an hour until the harvesting started.
The students harvested 57 Tilapia which produced about twelve pounds of filets! On Wednesday, the fish fry was held outside the Greenhouse by the parking lot for students, faculty and staff to enjoy. A table was set up to include the filets, ingredients for fish tacos, vegetables, freshly squeezed lemonade and a cheesecake for dessert.
–Dakota College at Bottineau