Saturday, September 05, 2015

Fresh, Local Indiana Shrimp (No kidding)

Indiana-farmed shrimp ready for our lunch!
Fresh shrimp are a delicious treat. Here in Indiana, as you can guess, there don't happen to be any boats bringing in shrimp. However RDM Aquaculture in Benton County raises shrimp inside a series of large barns out on a big Indiana farm. We took a tour of the barns, bought our lunch, and then went back to Elaine and Larry's house where we're visiting for the long weekend (maybe 15 miles from the shrimp farm) and cooked them. Totally fresh -- peel and eat!

A barn with vats for raising shrimp.
Shrimp farms in Southeast Asia are environmental disasters -- they destroy mangrove swamps to get a place to raise the shrimp, they cause terrible pollution and ruin the locale, and then they move on and do it again.

Not so in Indiana! The local method of shrimp farming produces no wastewater -- water and salt are added to the tanks where the shrimp are raised, but does not discard any water. Obviously, this is a very small-scale operation compared to those in Asia.

Our purchase ready to be bagged: around 1.5 pounds of still-alive shrimp.
The RDM shrimp farm sells to other shrimp farms and sells retail at the farm. Hatchlings from a farm in Florida come in at 11 days old, and are raised in a series of barns full of tanks (which actually appear to be repurposed backyard swimming pools). They've set up a few other shrimp farms which buy the intermediate-sized shrimp from them and then finish growing them. The customer-ready shrimp are all sold at retail at the shrimp farm to people like us. When we arrived, there were other customers, and a couple were waiting in line as they weighed and bagged our shrimp, which as I say, we immediately took home, cooked them, and ate them.

Worker preparing food, testing, or whatever.

I make it a point to avoid eating farm-raised shrimp from Asia, both for ecological reasons and for health reasons. I eat shrimp only if I know where they came from -- for example, from day boats in Santa Barbara, or from other clearly labeled wild shrimp sources. I felt extremely lucky to have these sweet and delicious shrimp for lunch!

1 comment:

Jeanie said...

This is interesting. I didn't know the details on the various shrimp farming plants. Did you know there is one in Williamston? I've never had shrimp from there or visited and now I'm wondering if they have a tour or how they sell. (I would pass it back in the Gypsy days when I had to pick up meds from the vet). Love shrimp. I almost might consider it a staple!