NewsNorthern Arizona NewsOther


A Desert Shrimp farm that fell on hard times is back in business

Posted at 7:03 PM, Nov 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-14 21:03:55-05

For Gary Wood the phrase, "the road less traveled" really is a way of life.

Tucked away off Old Highway 80, just outside Gila Bend, is Arizona's Desert Sweet Shrimp farm.

That's right, a shrimp farm about 300 miles from the ocean.

"The hotter it is, the faster they grow," said Wood. 

"It turned out to be the perfect spot to raise shrimp," said Wood. "According to Texas A&M we set the world record for both growth and production."

Back in its heyday, Desert Sweet Shrimp could produce half a million pounds of shrimp. People were lining up to buy it, and it seemed like the owners truly found their sweet spot in the desert.

But then in the mid-2000's, the recession started to take its toll on the company.

"You know if you think about it, if you're a banker, you want to have your name associated with shrimp in Arizona?" asked Wood.

With no other choice, the company stopped shrimp production in 2010.

The farm was forced to empty it's 60 ponds, and It's taken seven years for Desert Sweet Shrimp to re-build and get the funding to start back-up.

"At least I'm not disappointing people now by saying I don't have any," said Wood. 

As a test this year, Wood's cream used just three ponds to produce about 20-thousand pounds of shrimp.

"It might have been a long road to get here, but it really is the road less traveled," said Wood. "The first time we cooked some up, the memory of it just came right back."

Desert Sweet Shrimp has a limited supply, and is expecting to sell out before Christmas.

Desert Sweet Shrimp is located at 47520 S Old Highway 80, Gila Bend, AZ 85337, and can be reached at 623-393-0136.