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FISHING FOR SHRIMP

Local Carolina shrimp from Morehead City

There’s a tie-in here: from the Carolina blue typeface above and in links below, to UNC Chapel Hill, to the highly prestigious full-ride Morehead Scholarship at UNC, to Morehead City, and to the fisheries in the vicinity of Morehead City, Onslow Bay, Pamlico Sound, the Neuse River, and New Bern. John Motley Morehead was the 29th governor of North Carolina, serving from 1841 – 1845 and is the namesake of both the scholarship at UNC and Morehead City.

“Morehead helped raise private funds for a railroad line to accompany $2 million finally authorized by the legislature, which became the North Carolina Railroad. In 1854, Morehead became the first president and the railroad’s terminus was named Morehead City, North Carolina in his honor in 1860″ (Wikipedia). Morehead would dub the rail line “the tree of life” as it facilitated commerce between landlocked Greensboro, 200 miles inland to the west, and Morehead City on the water. The city was incorporated in 1861, five years before Morehead died at the age of 70.

Thus began Morehead City’s role in fostering a fishing industry that came into its own in the late 19th and early 20th centuries century to become an important economic engine for the city and the surrounding area, of which we are present day beneficiaries.

YFYT’s shrimp are sourced through a local distributor (Inland Seafood), which gets its shrimp from the hardy fishermen of the Carolina coast. Those fishermen are people like Kenny Pittman of Pittman Seafood, whose two 80′ trawlers (Miss Kelly and Lady Kimberly, pictured above) are berthed at their facility on Adams Creek, just off the Neuse River, South-Southeast across the river from Oriental NC. Pittman’s has a Beaufort address, but they are really part of the Morehead City fishing scene.

Make no mistake: shrimping is hard, hard, dangerous work. Any kind of fishing is hard work. While the stories and crews of Discovery’s Deadliest Catch may get all the glory (if you can really call it that), there’s never been a fisherman who didn’t put their life at risk every single day to bring us the seafood we enjoy in a Lowcountry shrimp boil (served on Thursdays) or shrimp ‘n’ grits (served on Saturdays). Those foods may be glorious and seem almost genteel, but they are born of many hard days’ work by people who earn every penny they get paid.

So think about these fishermen next time you enjoy our Lowcountry shrimp boil or Lowcountry shrimp ‘n’ grits, both of which are chock full of local shrimp, andoullie, potatoes, and corn, to name a few. These are peak season ingredients that yield peak flavor.