Curmudgeon's Corner

cur-mud-geon: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner

Who Would've Thought?

People Making A Difference, Potpourri, Quality of Life, Wisconsin

Who would’ve thought?

My wife and I hale from Norwegian Country, at least the Northern branch if we have to count Stoughton in the mix.  I was born and raised in Viroqua, WI just seven miles south of Westby…the competition for the domestic equivalent of Oslo alongside Stoughton.  This is Lutefisk and Lefse country.  It also, like Stoughton, used to be in the Northern part of the tobacco capitol of Wisconsin raising tons of the filler tobacco for cigars.  That industry has disappeared.

Given that backdrop, you can probably understand my amazement to learn that Westby is the home of the reportedly (Journal Sentinel front page this morning) sole shrimp farm in Wisconsin.  That’s right, a place where winter sees the Snowflake Ski Jumping tournament that brings people from all over the world to jump in competition.  In the middle of all this is a shrimp farming business named Dairyland Shrimp, LLC.  It is owned and operated by an entrepreneur (he’d have to be to even think of a shrimp farm in Wisconsin) named Forbes Adam.  It seems it is all his mother’s fault since she sent him a newspaper article from Indiana discussing a shrimp farm in that state.  She should’ve known better since he is a self-admitted entrepreneur, but maybe he got that from his mom as well.

Dairyland Shrimp produces Pacific white shrimp and it is sold out four months ahead of its production runs right now.  All this happens in a pole shed building with four times the usual amount of insulation since it has to be kept at a temperature of 93 degrees year-round.  The shrimp mature in four months in four 14 foot diameter pools of saltwater.  Seems that ‘four’ is the magic number in this story.

He starts at about 7:00AM each day and feeds the shrimp an organic, protein-based food, tests the water quality and so on.  The water is constantly filtered with bacteria so there is no harmful discharge.  Supposedly he learned that these shrimp can jump high out of the water upon coming in on mornings to find a half-dozen or so lying dead on the floor.  That led to him arranging tarps over the pools to keep the shrimp from committing suicide.  Oh, and the bigger shrimp enjoy eating the smaller shrimp so he has to keep separating them or maybe he’d end up with one or two really big shrimp.

He is now planning to add a dozen more pools so that he can increase production saying that: “It’s really killing me to have to tell them (prospective restaurant customers) that they’ll have to wait a year” when they ask him to be their supplier of shrimp.  90 % of shrimp are now imported into our country.

Maybe this is the next big thing in Norwegian Country.

Who would’ve thought?

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