Mention Kentucky caviar, shrimp, or lobster, and some may think you’re building up to a big joke. But the state really does produce all three—and it’s a growing venture. Kentucky’s climate actually lends itself quite well to the production of these freshwater delicacies.
Kentucky “caviar” comes from the Kentucky spoonfish (also known as the paddlefish), a member of the sturgeon family. Spoonfish production has been seen as a potential alternative to tobacco farming. The meat is white and boneless, and the eggs, often marketed as Kentucky “caviar,” have performed well in national taste tests.
Aquaculture is a growing field of study at Kentucky State University in Frankfort. KSU’s Aquaculture Program has championed both paddlefish and Kentucky shrimp—freshwater prawns that grow over the spring and summer and are harvested and sold in early fall. Many are purchased fresh pondside, but Kentucky shrimp is also distributed frozen at markets like the Seafood Connection in St. Matthews. About 35 shrimp farmers operate in the Bluegrass State.
Another relatively new fish product is Kentucky “lobster”—actually red-claw crayfish.
One good place to check out some of these new Kentucky delicacies is the Limestone Restaurant on Hurstbourne Lane, which features them regularly.
- Program 107
- Hollywood actor Denny Miller, the University of Louisville’s Tarzan collection, Indian bead artist Surekha Kulkarni, the facts about Kentucky “seafood,” and an interview with Mayor Jerry Abramson. (#107)