The life of a shrimp is very short, about 18 months, depending on the specie. In North Carolina, the brown shrimp in the Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds are small but growing fast. They count about 60 to the pound today, but by the end of July, they will have doubled in size to about a 30-count shrimp. A week after that, we will see some 26’s and 21’s with 16/20’s probably the week after, “if all goes according to plan”.
Most of the shrimp that land in North Carolina every year go to “the breaders”. These are large shrimp companies that peel and bread the North Carolina shrimp and sell a “value added” shrimp product to retailers and broad-line food service distributors across the country. But this year is going to be different. The breaded shrimp companies have already called many North Carolina shrimp producers. These businesses buy hundreds of thousands of pounds directly from the shrimp boats catching them and said they would not be purchasing the shrimp this year. The “breaders” are getting all the shrimp they can handle out of the Gulf and will not need supply from North Carolina.
Our customers can take advantage of these delicious shrimp by featuring “peel & eat” specials on their menus when the shrimp get larger later this month. Local Carolina shrimp will run from early to mid-August through the fall and into December. These shrimp are strictly sold shell-on because there isn’t the labor in North Carolina or the entire US, for that matter, to peel them. Stay tuned.