Bryan Farms in Wise County has three shrimp ponds and harvests one each Saturday in September. The ponds can produce 500 to 1,200 pounds of freshwater prawns (also called freshwater shrimp) each, and they sell them right off the bank for $8 per pound. This Saturday (Sept. 28), they will be harvesting the last pond.
These local freshwater prawns have a sweet, lobster-like flavor that is perfect for grilling. They contain less iodine and cholesterol than gulf shrimp, and they are huge, some reaching a ¼ pound in size. I picked up a couple of pounds the first Saturday and fixed up some Grilled Prawns. Be sure to check out the recipe here.
Chef Charles Youts from The Classic at Roanoke picked up 100 pounds last Saturday and is serving them on his menu as a special right now.
Youts told me, Any time I have the opportunity to participate in sustaining local crops I try to. The Wise County Shrimp Farm gave me the chance to do this and provide the freshest product for our guests, Rockport dry-rubbed local freshwater prawns with drawn garlic butter.
Activities at Bryan Farms start at 10 a.m. Saturday and last until dusk, rain or shine, although I hear people usually get there at 9. You can find directions and times on their website at www.wcshrimpfarm.com, and be sure to bring a cooler.