Food for Thought: Scrimping on shrimp

Local shrimp markets have seen better seasons.

The supply of freshly caught brown shrimp has been slow thanks to the weather, Bob Taylor, owner of the Calabash Fishing Fleet and seafood market overlooking the Calabash River, said last week.

Taylor said they’ve been netting shrimp about every other day.

“It’s slow because of all the rain we’ve had,” he said.

The rain washes the shrimp into the river, making it elusive to shrimpers going out on their boats, he said.

“We’re just waiting on good weather and time,” he said, estimating they’re two weeks behind.

The good news is this past year shrimpers were able to net all year, Taylor said, which is possible if Mother Nature keeps the water temperature above 50 degrees.

Both Taylor and Jackie Varnam of Garland’s Fresh Seafood in Varnamtown agree shrimp has been much more abundant in the Pamlico Sound where, in fact, Garland’s supply has been coming from.

Even then, it’s hard to keep in stock.

Last Thursday, Varnam said their market landed about 2,700 pounds of freshly caught brown shrimp, which was almost gone by Friday morning due to demand.

Varnam said there’s a shortage of fresh shrimp, and advises customers to call ahead and maybe get on their list.

“We need a name, number and amount,” she said.

Per-pound shrimp prices vary depending on size.

At Taylor’s market, the range is from $4 to $9 per pound. Varnam said her range is $4.50 to $7.50.

Last week, Popeye’s, a grandfathered shrimp stand on Beach Drive near Sunset Beach, was selling fresh headless brown shrimp for $11 a pound, available in several sizes ranging from small to extra large.

Stand owner Candi Schmidt said she only sells shrimp, or “camarones,” and homegrown tomatoes at the stand, which is at 7017 Beach Drive at Sommersett Road.

Business, she said, has been “pretty good.”


Do you know of news in the food or restaurant realm in Brunswick County? If so, send it to Food for Thought at llewis@brunswickbeacon.com or call Laura Lewis at The Brunswick Beacon at (910) 754-6890.