Mr. Kenneth Thompson, Research Associate in the College of Agriculture, Food Science and Sustainable Systems' Division of Aquaculture, is a man who wears many hats at Kentucky State University. He helps with recruiting, conducts tours, works with graduate students, mentors and much more.
Recently he contributed to a new book titled Dietary Nutrients, Additives, and Fish Health, which was published by Wiley Blackwell. Ken co-authored together with Dr. Carl Webster the Chapter "Protein, Amino Acids, and Ingredients."
Photo by Charles Weibel
West End School Tours the Aquaculture Research Center
On July 24, 2015 around 26 young men from The West End School visited KSU and toured the Aquaculture Research Center. The West End School is a free, private, college preparatory, Pre-K through Eighth grade school for young men. Admission is open to boys entering Pre-K, Kindergarten, First Grade, Second Grade, Third Grade and Sixth Grade who are on free or reduced lunch, are capable of doing academic work at grade levels or above, and who would benefit from a safe environment and high expectations and personal responsibility. Through the School's rigorous academic and personal standards, we encourage our students to attain the highest possible level of scholarship, character, and intellectual growth.
Photo by Charles Weibel
KSU Shrimp Market Research
DESCRIPTION OF MARKETING OPPORTUNITY:
Kentucky State University's Aquaculture program provided the Louisville Fish Co. with five pounds of Pacific White Shrimp in order to fulfill a request from the executive chef at the Hyatt Regency in Atlanta, GA. Chef Jeramy Wooldridge had called the Louisville Fish Co. looking for Kentucky sustainable seafood items in part of a cooking competition amongst Hyatt Hotel chefs.
Shrimp was provided by Kentucky State University to showcase a project of raising Pacific White Shrimp in indoor biofloc systems. The Louisville Fish Co. agreed to get as much information from Chef Wooldridge as possible, in order to provide possible insight into markets for future production of shimp in Kentucky.
Five pounds was sold to Chef Wooldridge. Shrimp was shipped frozen overnight to the Hyatt Regency in Atlanta via United States Postal Service. The cost of shipping was $120.00. The shrimp we sold at $8.00/lb. Originally, the Louisville Fish Co. had quoted Chef Wooldridge a price of $10.00/lb to which he had no objection, but when the event's date moved up, and shrimp were not the original size of 20/30, and rather 30/40 count per pound, a $2.00/lb discount was given for any inconvenience.
Chef Wooldridge ended up winning the competition amongst Hyatt Chefs, and he said a big part of it was the fact that the shrimp were raised in Kentucky. He believed it was a bit of wow factor for guests and judges. In regards to flavor, Chef said that he did not taste any additives or "sulfates". He also said, unlike other farmed-raised shrimp he has had, the KSU shrimp were not overly salty, which he said helped a lot, as there was "no risk to over salting when seasoning". Overall, he said the size, flavor, and qualities were all excellent in his opinion as well as the judges of the competition.
Having Chef Wooldridge prepare and win a cooking competition should bode well for Kentucky State University, the Louisville Fish Co., and the overall perception of Kentucky Aquaculture, as chefs, guests, and hotel administrators were all witness to Kentucky Shrimp winning the 1st place prize. While the event itself is not a viable market for future producers, at least it is known that the shrimp produced in the biofloc systems were deemed high quality and extremely tasty. If producers in the future could replicate KSU's shrimp, they should feel confident in marketing their products as sustainable and high quality shrimp. Marketing to hotel chefs may be a viable market, with suggested pricing anywhere between $8-12.00/lb.