by David Cecelski
You can tell the shrimp are running Down East. My daughter and I drove from our farm to HarkersIsland yesterday, which is only 20 miles, and everywhere we looked there were signs for fresh shrimp—in front of fishermen’s homes, little roadside stands, and fish markets. Other roadside signs announced community fundraising suppers featuring fried shrimp, shrimp burgers and stewed shrimp.
It’s that time of year in those old fishing villages east of Beaufort. You see the shrimp boats headed out the Straits nearly every night now. The guys that commute to work at Cherry Point are calling in sick and going shrimping. High school boys are skipping school and going shrimping. Old-timers who gave up fishing the rest of the year ages ago are shrimping, too, enjoying the late summer nights and being on the water again.
When we got to HarkersIsland, my daughter and I caught El’s ferry and made a last trip out to Cape Lookout before she goes away to college. Then, on the way back, we stopped at a roadside stand in the Bettie community and bought a couple pounds of fresh shrimp from a fisherman’s wife. She was charging $2.00 a pound. I don’t know yet what I’m doing to do with them, but this time of year, when okra is so fresh and abundant, my thoughts turn first to okra and shrimp stew.
Photos by Vera Cecelski