It’s not something you would normally consider to be in Missouri today. But, the Triple J Farms is making its move into inland shrimp aquaculture, and local sources are definitely taking note. A staggering 650 miles removed from the nearest ocean saltwater, this business is proving it doesn’t matter where you are: good shrimp is still possible. To replicate the sea, the operation has crammed eight round pools plus an additional water storage tank into a modestly sized indoor facility. It’s enough o stock up to 28,000 Pacific whiteleg shrimp.
This past November, the farm welcomed its first delivery of post-larval shrimp and made its first sale in February when that shipment completed its roughly three-month growth cycle into jumbo-size specimens as long as a human hand. Needless to say, locals, community members, and newspapers were scratching their heads at the prospect of a successful shrimp venture right in St. Louis.
The company is owned and operated by Jeff and James Howell, two brothers on a mission to pursue aquaculture in the most unlikely of places. They hope their regional uniqueness can become a selling point for their business in the future. So far, the farm has served customers only over the counter at its Foristell facility, but the brothers are aiming to attract business form local restaurants looking to get their hands on affordable and responsibly raised seafood without the national shipping costs.
“We’d love to partner with a restaurant in St. Louis,” said Jeff Howell. “There’s nobody yet in this city with farm-to-table seafood. It could be an incredible selling point.”
“A lot of people today, they don’t know where their main protein comes from,” said James Howell. “That’s especially true for seafood in our country today.”
More than 90 percent of American seafood is imported, making it a total mystery to consumers.