Farmer raising 'shrimp alternative' in Chesterfield ponds

By Melissa Correa - bio | email

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - Fresh seafood raised right in our backyard. Some Chesterfield County farmers are just about ready to harvest the "shrimp alternative." And each time they do, people are surprised to know prawns were raised right here in Virginia.

At 2,400 acres, it's a sprawling farm in the middle of Chester. And what are they harvesting? Prawns. More than 100,000 are swimming in the four ponds on the property.

After a year of testing the waters, farmer Wayne Martin's got the swing of things. This is his second year raising prawns in ponds as far as the eye can see.

"We'll call them shrimp, but they're actually Malaysian prawns," Martin said.

Martin and a team of farmers from state co-ops and Virginia State University are investing in a successful harvest.

"I'm hoping we'll get close to 2,000 pounds," per pond, he said. While his start-up venture... "it's something to do that's interesting, and we're doing it because it's fun," hasn't netted much money yet,  He's hopeful restaurant supply giant Sysco and residents will keep him out of the red.

"Most people don't even know Chesterfield's got a place like this. It's the country in the middle of the city," he said.

Don't let this serene scape fool you. Martin stays busy monitoring the prawns progress for four months.  So for all the shrimp lovers out there, why should they switch? "They taste better, they taste a lot better. I would eat them right now!"

The prawns will be pulled out September 26.

Information on Prawn Harvest:
September 26 & October 3
Call 839-0069 or 382-5672
Located near 5911 Nena Grove Lane, Chester, VA

Greystone Farms is part of: Virginia Aquafarmers Network, VA Natural Fish Organization, VSU, VA Dept. of Agriculture and Consumer Services and Stawberry Creek Shrimp Farms

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