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Our Relationship with the Sea

Sharing a Letter from our Chairman & CEO

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Sharing a Letter from our Chairman & CEO
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Our relationship with the sea runs deep. Here’s why we need to protect and sustain our oceans.

On New York’s Long Island, where we live, it’s hard not to form a bond with the sea. Our community traces its roots to people who crossed the ocean and turned to it for their food and livelihoods. Today, amid constant reminders of the area’s maritime heritage, many still fish as a hobby and flock to the shore on hot summer days.

In fact, we both live near the shores of Long Island and enjoy the water for relaxation and inspiration. Jim’s 4-year-old grandson, Kurt, loves fishing with his dad, James. At least once a month, they grab their rods and board a boat for a father-son sea excursion. Even if the fish don’t bite, they return with a tighter bond, having spent the day talking outside the range of the internet.
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The importance of the ocean and the life it contains cannot be overstated. Water covers more than 70% of the planet. Oceans feed us, regulate our climate, capture carbon, and generate most of the oxygen we breathe. A third of all humans live within 60 miles of an ocean, which provides nutritious food even to those who live in landlocked areas.

Seafood also played a critical role in our evolution. Archaeologists have found evidence that our ancestors started eating fish and other aquatic creatures more than 1.8 million years ago – a period that happens to coincide with rapid evolutionary brain growth. Seafood is rich in docosahexaenoic acid or DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid that’s in short supply in the modern diet. It’s essential for optimal human brain growth in childhood, and cognitive and emotional health in adults.

Though the oceans appear infinite, their resources are not. Overfishing is depleting stocks. Plastics and other pollutants contaminate the water. Global warming raises temperatures and stirs up stronger storms.

Oceans and seas are fragile ecosystems. We need to take care of them if we want our children and grandchildren to have the bond of appreciation and respect that we and our ancestors have had with the oceans.
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A fish tale like no other

Over a year ago, we were looking to expand our company’s food group and asked our community for ideas. In survey after survey, the response was clear: You wanted “better for you” options. And so we looked to the sea.

One company’s name came up repeatedly in our search. Vital Choice Seafood & Organics was a small business founded by two fishermen with deep experience fishing in the frigid and perilous waters off the coast of Alaska. They understood the benefits of seafood in a healthy lifestyle and the importance of protecting the environment.

These two men – Randy Hartnell and Dave Hamburg – witnessed the impact commercial fishing had on the environment and their livelihood. In fact, the company got its start after the price of wild salmon collapsed due to the proliferation of farmed salmon. To help spread the word about the benefits of wild salmon, they parked their boats and toured grocery stores around the country.
We’d set up our barbecue, cook wild Alaska salmon, and tell its remarkable story to store patrons. We explained the dramatic differences between wild and farmed salmon — how wild salmon is more natural, more nutritious, more sustainable, and tastes better too. Then we’d let them try it themselves and more times than not they were hooked!

– Randy Hartnell
One day, a woman in Michigan asked how she could get wild salmon after Randy and Dave had left because her store didn’t consistently stock it. That led to an investigation into the best way to ship frozen seafood – and to the birth of Vital Choice in 2001.

For two decades, Vital Choice has grown well beyond salmon while standing firm to its founding principles.

We’re not just a retailer. We’re also an active advocate for protecting wild fish resources and the livelihoods of responsible fishers. We feel it personally because that’s the world we come from. As one person put it, “we not only sell good things, we also do good things.

– Dave Hamburg
Vital Choice joins our community

A year ago, we announced that Vital Choice had joined our family of brands. Almost overnight, our selection of “better for you” options expanded substantially. On top of fresh fruit from Harry & David and vegetables from The Chef’s Garden, we now offer a range of tasty seafood that includes wild-caught salmon, whitefish, shellfish, marine supplements, and organic berries.
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We know that many of you are passionate about seafood. To celebrate the one-year anniversary of Vital Choice’s joining our family of brands, we invite you to submit your favorite original seafood recipe. We’ll feature our favorites on the Vital Choice blog – and provide $50 gift cards to the first 25 submissions.
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We look forward to seeing – and trying out – your recipes and hope you enjoy Vital Choice and the sea as much as we do!
All the best,

Chris and Jim
Chris Jim Jim
Celebrating the First Decade of Harry & David Wines

Staying on the topic of anniversaries and great food, we’re also celebrating this month 10 years of wine at Harry & David. Back in 2012, wine was introduced as the perfect complement to its gourmet food and gift baskets. Today, its selection of 14 different wines is still winning the hearts of gift givers, recipients, and judges.

This year, the 2019 Merlot was awarded Best in Class at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. The 2020 Reserve Pinot Noir and 2020 Pinot Noir won double-gold and gold, respectively. Winning awards is nothing new for Harry & David. In total, their wines have won 101 awards over the past decade.

You can read more about Harry & David’s wine history here.


Community and the Spirit of Halloween

Happy Halloween! As we wrote last week, your celebrations of everything spoky probably started weeks ago. But Monday is the big day, and we hope that you enjoy your community gatherings and all the treats your pumpkin can hold!

We enjoyed reading your stories to last week’s Celebrations Pulse. Here’s how our community is celebrating:
All the kids in the neighborhood make it a point to stop by our house thanks to my husband handing out fistfuls of candy. There hasn’t been a Halloween where we haven’t had to run to the store to replenish supplies!

– Vikki F.

We live out in the country and don’t have traditional trick-or-treaters, but that hasn’t stopped us from celebrating. We still decorate, dress up, and stand out on our road to hand out candy to people who drive by!

– Tricia F.

Halloween has always been so special for me. I have vivid memories of “Trick or Treating” with my siblings. On 10/31, I’ll be starting my eighth decade. Though I’m in the hospital right now, I hope to be home welcome a new generation of trick or treaters. I KNOW I will be ready for whatever comes our way. Thank you for all you do!

– Woodi T.
Thank you to everyone who wrote! And Happy Birthday, Woodi! We hope you feel better soon!

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How do you know when there’s more to a story? In this week’s Celebrations Chatter, Jim is joined by his new friend, Vicky Ward. She’s a journalist and author who has an innate ability for finding the deeper motives behind an individual’s actions.

It was this insight that allowed her to author her compelling book “Kushner Inc.: Greed. Ambition. Corruption. The Extraordinary Story of Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump.” She also produced the acclaimed investigative journalism podcast “Chasing Ghislaine,” which uncovered the roots of Jeffrey Epstein’s wealth, influence, and criminality.

After getting her start in the UK, Vicky moved to America to start a new journey. In this first part of the interview, Vicky discusses the differences between the British and American press, as well as some of the dangers she’s faced going after high-profile stories and individuals. You can listen to the first part of the conversation on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

In the second part, Vicky discusses her work on “Chasing Ghislaine.” It will drop as the one-year anniversary of Maxwell’s conviction approaches.

Celebrating Diwali

Like millions of people around the world, we celebrated Diwali, the festival of lights. During one of the events at our headquarters, employees snacked on Indian food, shared stories, and learned a Bollywood dance.

A big thank you to Sonali Sehgal, a marketing coordinator who choreographed and taught the dance to the employees. “Sonali is a fantastic dancer,” said Sara Resnick, vice president of community marketing and organizer of our Diwali celebrations. “She taught all the folks that helped with the dance this morning. You would think they were practicing for days.”

Sonali was impressed by her colleagues’ dancing abilities. “I came in this morning ready to teach just a two-step dance. Not that I was underestimating our team, but they learned two steps in two minutes!” she said. “These guys are amazing, and I love dancing. I had a blast, and it was so much fun!”

See for yourself!
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Related articles that caught our eye
Written by our Founder and CEO, our Celebrations Pulse Sunday Letters aim to engage with our community. From sharing stories to welcoming your ideas, we want to help you to express, connect, and celebrate the important people in your life.

*Save 15% when you order through a link in this email at and enter code VITAL15 at checkout. Discount will appear during checkout when ordering online. Void where prohibited by law. Product purchase is exclusive of taxes and shipping and processing charges. Shipping and processing charges are based on the regular price of merchandise. Offer cannot be used on previous purchases. Not valid on orders of $2,500 or more; for orders of $2,500 or more, contact the corporate sales division at 800 248 5567 for any applicable discounts or promotions. Void if transferred, copied, purchased, sold, or bartered. No cash value. Offer valid through November 13, 2022.
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