The decision to farm tilapia in our backyard started out as more of a gardening hobby. We liked how tilapia took on the flavor of whatever preparation we decided to use on any particular night so it was already our fish of choice. We started with a few Blue tilapia and after nine months of feeding them, they were all over one pound and ready to feed us.
The difference between our own backyard farmed tilapia and store-bought was incredible. First of all, we never really noticed the brownish tint that store-bought tilapia had until we saw the beautiful white filets that our own tilapia had. That first year we weren't particularly concerned with water clarity. We figured that the water that they originate from in Africa and the Middle East couldn't have been any cleaner than ours, so we relaxed a bit on the clarity. But then we started thinking, how bad did the water have to be to stain the insides of the store-bought fish a brownish color. Well, we did some google research and found out. I don's suggest that anyone repeat our searches, you may not like what you find. Let's just say that the tilapia farmers in Indonesia, China and Honduras (but especially China) aren't raising their harvest in the cleanest water.
After cooking our first backyard farmed tilapia topped with our own paprika yogurt sauce (plain yogurt, sugar, paprika) and pico de gallo (tomatoes, white onion, cilantro) piled high on top, we immediately tasted the difference. Our's had a clean flavor that we have never experienced. Most people would agree that tilapia has little, if any, of that "fishy" taste, but after tasting ours, we knew there was a big difference. The taste difference is hard to describe. The only word that we can come up with is "cleaner". Sort of how a salmon has a distinct salmon flavor but it's very clean tasting too, that's how our tilapia tasted. Almost as if you could see a Japanese chef turing it into a plate of sashimi.
We loved our first backyard tilapia so much that today we raise them by the thousands and ship them all over North America and beyond. And of course, we still eat them three or four times per week.
If you are interested in purchasing some tilapia fingerlings to raise in your own backyard, you can buy them from us for about a dollar each at backyardtilapia.com. By the time you factor in the cost of their food, you will spend less than three dollars per pound for your own perfect tasting tilapia.