As a marine scientist, Nick sailed several trans-Pacific research expeditions on a Brigantine-style Tall Ship equipped for advanced oceanographic research. Tall Ship sailors, to this day, maintain the traditions and superstitions of Olde, including that of the Swizzle—a celebration marking the end of a successful ocean crossing.
On the eve of journey’s-end, the captain gathers his crew to offer congratulations and thanks to all. In this hallowed moment, before festivities can begin, a ritual toast is made to Neptune—the protector who grants safe passage across his realm. With reverence, the captain pours the first drink into the sea.
OneForNeptune maintains tradition by paying homage to our most valuable resource, the Ocean, for all that it offers. OneForNeptune seeks to generate a healthy, sustainable, relationship with the ocean, securing a bluer future for you, for me, and for the sea.
OneForNeptune Is Born
On a mountaintop in the Gila Wilderness of New Mexico, our founder Nick Mendoza was surveying the land, mending fences, and contemplating a vision of converting his grandparents’ cattle ranch into an ecologically managed, Farm-to-Table or beef jerky operation. Nick had recently left a career in marine science and sustainable aquaculture research, with the hope of finding ways of directly impacting food system sustainability and food waste--a lifelong passion. The ranch seemed like a good place to start. Here in the backcountry, immersed in nature, a new thought emerged rooted in his love for the oceans and background as a marine scientist, “Can I create a fish jerky that would address the seafood sustainability challenges that I’ve been seeking to solve for years, while delivering a healthy product for snack lovers?
After selling cattle to purchase OneForNeptune’s first commercial dehydrator, Nick took to the kitchen and began working tirelessly to create a fish jerky with the taste, texture, and aroma of beef jerky. Cooking has always been another passion of Nick’s, particularly because there is so much science and problem-solving involved. “I spent a lot of long nights making some really bad jerky,” says Nick, “but through diligence and trial and error, something quite special was created.” He called the tender, mouthwatering recipe he developed Norse Smoke--a blend of gin-soaked Juniper Berries, Cracked Pepper, Sea Salt, and other spices.
As the recipe advanced, enthusiasm from those who tasted our fish jerky grew. Pretty soon, samples were being devoured at local pitch contests and events, where the snacks found particular traction with health and fitness buffs, advocates of sustainability, and mothers of young children. Plenty were won over by the taste alone (“this is the best jerky I have ever had--do you source New Mexico beef?”), but it was OneForNeptune’s commitment to improving seafood sustainability that has garnered the most attention for the company. After a successful pitch at the Fish 2.0 Global Seafood Innovation Forum at Stanford University, where OneForNeptune took home the Stavis Seafoods ICX prize and 2nd place in the audience vote, the buzz was on!
Co-founders James Coop and Garrett Delgado joined the crew full-time to help bring the vision to reality. With crew assembled and sails set for True North, OneForNeptune left port excited for adventures to come.
Nick, James, Garrett "Making Friends"- En route to Outdoor Retailer January 2018