The Story Behind Patagonia Provisions’ Sustainably Sourced Mussels

Patagonia Provisions was founded by Yvon Chouinard in 2012 to offer sustainably-sourced and ethical food options.

With offerings like ancient grains, soups and chilis, fruit bars, jerky and other backcountry food solutions, as well as collaborations with likeminded brands such as Bee’s Wrap and MiiR, Patagonia Provisions is steadily expanding.

These mussels don’t need much besides a fork. Photo: Courtesy of Amy Kumler for Patagonia Provisions.

Most recently, they’ve partnered up with the family-owned cannery, Conservas Antonio Perez Lafuente, to offer mussels. The cannery has been in the business since 1892 and is located in Villa de Arousa in the province of Pontevedra, Galicia, on the west coast of Spain.

“Since 2000, [Conservas Antonio Perez Lafuente] has focused on sustainable, traceable fish sources and the use of organic ingredients with their canned products,” Birgit Cameron, senior director of Patagonia Provisions, tells ASN. “Provisions has chosen to work with them because of their relationships with local organic mussel farmers, and their commitment to sourcing responsibly caught fish and using organic ingredients.”

Grown under the European Union’s organic aquaculture standards (similar to “certified organic” in the U.S., but more stringent), these Galician mussels are regarded as some of the highest quality in the world. The cold ocean temperatures and high levels of nutrients in the water contribute to this reputation.

In general, mussels are jam packed with nourishment, but when grown thoughtfully, they also help restore and improve the ocean’s ecosystems. 

Mussels don’t need to be fed; instead, they eat plankton and by doing so, actually clean the water, making a better habitat for fish.

Because this process is void of feed, it eliminates unneccesary additives like fishmeal being thrown into the ocean – a common practice with farmed fish operations – which can have a negative impact on marine life.

patagonia provisions sustainably sourced mussels
Photo courtesy of Patagonia

Patagonia Provisions’ mussels are canned and come in three styles: Savory Sofrito, Lemon & Herb and Smoked, and can be ordered separately or in a variety pack.

We recently tried them out on a camping trip. Canned fish is a great way to get protein and is a solid substitute for sugary bars or red meat, but mussels are a favorite because they are one of the most sustainable sources of protein.

While some canned options can overwhelm non-fish lovers, Provisions’ mussels aren’t overpowering when you open them, especially the Lemon & Herb flavor. All of the flavors are subtle and delicate, yet far from bland.

patagonia provisions sustainable mussels
Mussels over pasta is a winning combo. Photo: Courtesy of Kate Erwin.

We snacked on the smoked flavor during the day with crackers, but found that they were delicious on their own – just be mindful that there will be some oil left over. We drank it, then sealed the container in a baggy to carry out. The last thing Patagonia wants is empty cans laying around, so bring something to carry them out, or else your pack will smell fishy.

At night we prepared a simple pasta dish with sautéed zucchini and then emptied a can of the Savory Sofrito mussels over the top. Within minutes, we had an amazing meal.

If you like mussels, these work to spice up almost any meal, and are a fresh, perfect protein for any backcountry trip.

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