The Flick Private Foundation owns a forestry operation, which includes a wood gas power plant in Rottenmann, a city in Palten Valley, Styria. Although the plant’s primary purpose is to generate electricity for the green power grid, a byproduct of the power plant is heat. In fact, it’s a lot of heat: about 2.7 million kilowatt hours per year. However, the question was how this heat could be put to good use. As chance would have it, Ingrid Flick stumbled across an article about a shrimp farm in an issue of Falstaff. In it, she learned that shrimp need a tank heated to 84 degrees Fahrenheit (28 degrees Celsius) in order to thrive. Soon after, the idea to farm shrimp in Styria was born.
focus on ecology
In spring 2018, construction of an indoor aquaculture facility in Rottenmann began; the project focused on ecological sustainability from the very beginning. In early 2020, »White Panther« shrimp production finally opened its doors. Incidentally, the name evokes the animal on the Styrian coat of arms – the panther – along with white tiger prawns, one of the most widely cultivated shrimp species in the world.
serendipity led the way
Then something happened that makes White Panther mountain shrimp even more special. Originally, the plan was to buy shrimp larvae from the USA and raise them in the Paltental. However, because of the devastating hurricanes in 2017 and the subsequent damage to the hatchery ponds, transporting the larvae by air was suddenly no longer possible. Therefore, they quickly decided to purchase broodstocks and breed the larvae themselves. The company has also succeeded in breeding the rare and very tricky-to-cultivate »blue shrimp« (Litopenaeus Stylirostris); it is now the only breeder in Europe offering these shrimp fresh, not just frozen.
For this to happen in the first place, however, a huge amount of time and effort had to be invested. They add specially produced sea salt to the spring water from the alpine stream, which is located in the immediate vicinity of the breeding facility. This water is cleaned by filtration systems to create an optimal environment for the sensitive crustaceans.
»White Panther« breeds their mountain shrimp without using chemicals, antibiotics and hormones; instead, it uses varied, healthy food that is perfectly adapted to the different stages of development. Among other things, the hatchery uses home-grown algae. With an annual production volume of sixty tons, the production facility is one of the largest indoor shrimp aquaculture facilities in Europe. Plus, having its own hatchery makes the company unique and provides an opportunity for other aquaculture facilities in Europe to buy animals from Austria instead of overseas.
So, how do the mountain shrimp taste? They have many subtle flavor notes ranging from sweet-nutty to salty-mineral, although the meat from the blue shrimp is even more intense. By the way, most of the flavor comes from the head and shell, which is why mountain shrimp are always delivered whole. When it comes to cooking them, creativity naturally knows no bounds. Because of its high quality and level of freshness, White Panther shrimp are sashimi-grade and can even be enjoyed raw.
buy mountain shrimp
Online, onsite and in selected specialty stores:
You can buy White Panther mountain shrimp either online or in the Rottenmann shop. Mountain shrimp are also available at selected speciality stores (e. g. Qualitalia, Eishken, Bluen, Grüll) and – most recently since the end of May – at selected retailers (Billa Corso, Billa Plus, Meinl am Graben), as well as at gurkerl.at.
“Styli” – the blue shrimp
Styli shrimp cost between € 8.80 and € 11 per 100 gram (3.5 ounces), depending on the size of the animal. Blue shrimp are extremely difficult to breed, and White Panther is the only supplier in Europe that ships them fresh, not only frozen.
“Vanna” – the white tiger prawn
Vanna prawns are currently only available in one size, which costs € 6,60 per 100 gram (3.5 ounces). This shrimp species is called “white tiger” and is one of the most popular cultivated shrimp species in the world. The larvae are also bred in Styria.
White Panther shrimps are delivered in 400-gram (14-ounce) cups. Depending on the size, each cup contains 12 – 18 mountain shrimps. Shipping is free for orders of three cups or more.