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Take That Shrimp Seriously!

Posted on: February 27th, 2012

Shrimp is a very special food but most of us take it for granted. All shrimp is not created equally, not by a long shot!  There are several hundred species, and we’re very lucky to have some of the best tasting in the bays and seas surrounding North America all things considered.

Please keep in mind, shrimping and market conditions are always changing. It’s a seasonal item and seasons and sources can vary with every season. Equally important, we’re constantly shopping for the best available each season and for new opportunities and sources. We always purchase the finest of the season, and availability and supplies on hand will constantly vary – but that’s just part of the fun!

What Makes It Great?

Taste, texture, and sustainability. They have a rich and vibrant flavor, and a texture that ‘snaps’ with every bite. Sustainability is also very important to us; we refuse to support unethical shrimpers!

Blind Tasting

Great shrimp at the table is a culmination of the right species and great handling. Luckily some of the best come from U.S. waters. As for handling; proper harvesting, quick icing and delicate processing are crucial factors in quality.

No Additives

Avoid shrimp treated with chemicals (to preserve and increase water retention), and pre-brined (to increase weight and improve the palatability of lower quality). While these are common, we will not buy any ‘treated’ or ‘enhanced’ shrimp at Tony’s.



Most of this shrimp is gobbled up fresh by locals, not frozen for sale in other parts of the country. We love the delicious shrimp of Louisiana and can special order it for you, but the shelf life is VERY short, so I generally do not recommend it, and shipping costs make it more expensive. See recipes.


Some of the world’s finest come from the waters around Florida.  We’ve proudly been buying Florida Shrimp direct from the docks for years now, and while availability decreased for a couple years after the Gulf oil disaster, they’re coming back, and we buy them every chance we get!  Ask your butcher if we have any in stock today.

Wild Peeled and Deveined

Finally! We’ve never been able to offer wild peeled and deveined shrimp – until now! As of this month (Feb, 2012), all our Peeled and Deveined Raw Shrimp are wild whites from the Gulf of California. They’re better in every way, and they’re only at Tony’s Market!

Fisherman’s Daughter

As the story goes, the daughter of a fisherman in Baja California learned how damaging shrimping was and confronted her dad about it. He was so moved he figured out a new way to shrimp with lighter nets that change water flow patterns and incorporate by-catch reduction devices.  It works – by-catch is reduced by a factor of 3. They do tend to catch less, but they also have far less by-catch, use 30% less fuel, and, get a better, firmer shrimp.

Laughing Bird

Depending on the year, harvest, and availability, we occassionally offer sustainably farm-raised White Vannamei shrimp from Costa Rica. Costa Rica is a country with a long history of progressive approaches to the issues of bio-diversity, eco-systems, and socio-economic management. The folks at Laughing Bird Shrimp of Costa Rica have solved these problems and deliver delicious white shrimp without the environmental baggage. Availability and our buying options vary with the season and year to year, so we can’t always have in stock – ask your butcher if we’ve got any today.

Is it a Shrimp or a Prawn?

They are related but part of different suborders. Essentially Shrimp are from marine (salt) water while Prawns are generally from fresh or brackish waters. In the UK, the term “prawns” is commonly used to refer to all shrimp. In the US, people often refer to the largest ones as prawns. It can be confusing…  From a taste perspective, I find that shrimp generally have a firmer texture and finer flavor than prawns.

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