No small fry: Cedar Falls couple starts shrimp business - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

No small fry: Cedar Falls couple starts shrimp business

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CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) - Matt Weichers and his wife wanted to start a business for a long time, and noticed the shrimp business was open in the Cedar Falls area.

"People can come here and buy live shrimp," said Weichers, Northern Iowa Shrimp farm manager. "Not dead -- sitting on ice. Actual live, jumping shrimp."

The shrimp is imported from Florida at 12 days old and then raised in Cedar Falls.

Weichers says he is still working at his job as an industrial mechanic for a food manufacturer, but is now a shrimp expert.

He admits he didn't know much about the animal before now.

"Just that they tasted great. That's where I started is I knew the product was wonderful," said Weichers. 

Now, more than a dozen tanks and thousands of shrimp later, Northern Iowa Shrimp is in business.

"We have to do water quality measurements every day -- we're checking the salinity of the water, the temperature, the PH, the alkalinity, the dissolved oxygen," said Weichers. 

Essentially, the tanks are supposed to be like the ocean, but free of hormones and chemicals. The air temperature in this room is also over 80 degrees.

It's an environment Weichers' brother, John Gielau, is OK with working in every day.

"It's exciting," Gielau, the "shrimp master," said. "I care for 150,000 animals on a daily basis, which is way different than anything I've done before. I've been in sales, I've been in the food industry, and this is just totally different."

There are only two other shrimp farms in Iowa.

A grand opening for Northern Iowa Shrimp will be Friday at 1 p.m. If you would like to place an order, email shrimpmaster@cfu.net

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