CHARLO — When you step into Jim Vaughan's shrimp barn in the small community of Charlo in the Mission Valley, you're hit with a wall of warm air and the first thing you see is six blue pools.
"I'm in an 83 degree building, with 70% humidity, versus being outside in 10 below pulling a calf,” Vaughan said.
The Mission Valley Shrimp Farm raises hundreds of pounds of live shrimp every month.
"It's so new to me, because I've never done that before,” Vaughn said. “That's why I'm so happy that we found four or five of them in that little cup."
Vaughan runs the farm all by himself and feeds the shrimp until they're big enough to be sold.
Vaughan grows the shrimp right in his backyard and it’s where the customers come to pick them up. He says their favorite part is that they can be part of the process themselves.
Growing saltwater animals in the mountains is a sensitive process. He spent two years experimenting before he made the first shrimp sale on December 15.
"I'm really amazed in how it's taken off, and the return customers just in two to three weeks,” said Vaughan.
He also engineered his own water heating and ventilation system for the barn. He says above ground heating coils and twice filtered water keep the shrimp swimming.
"They're in a controlled environment from the day they're born,” Vaughan told MTN News.
Now that his salt and bacteria levels are set, his only usage is water, “it just seemed like a really nice sustainable business to get into."
Vaughan says he hopes to expand and get six more pools in the next couple of years.
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