By Dottie Dewberry For the WPT
Sept. 29 was the day to drain the pond, capture the prawns, wash them off, ice them, sack them up and sell them by the pound out at the Simmons Farm out in the Center Grove community.
According to Kevin Simmons, who was taking a break, and who was also covered in mud, told me that they only raised the prawns in one pond this year. They put out 15,000 tee-tiny shrimp months ago, but today they are giants. The shrimp, an oxymoron, look like they have been living on steroids — Mississippi catfish food pellets. They probably averaged a pound each.
According to Cecil Simmons, owner and prawn farmer, these prawns taste kind-of-like a shrimp crossed with a lobster. YUM!
They are blown into the pond through a pipe, and they are then sucked out through another pipe, just months apart. When the pond gets drained down pretty low, the shrimp drain hole is opened and the shrimp pour out the hole.
They probably think they are being freed, but in actuality they are captured into tubs, then they are dumped into washing vats, where the mud is cleaned off. Next they are sacked up in web-mesh bags and washed again. Then they are put into ice, which kills them. After the ice, they are sacked up by the pound or however much a customer wants. They were selling $7 per pound, which was a bargain.
The most fun was when the pond got down to the mud, and all of the volunteer labor had to crawl or bend over to pick the prawns out of the mud. Talk about a pig in mud having fun, just ask Eddie Cantrell or Cecil Simmons how much fun it was.
Mrs. Lois Haley served as the cashier; Mary Stokes weighed and sacked the prawns. Vicki Hussey and Patricia Cochran also provided volunteer labor.
I’m not sure but I think there was a little mud-slinging, because I went in clean and came out with mud on me.
If you have never seen the “Seining of the Pond” drop by next year and watch.