Put away your pruners and get out your fishing rods. According to a recent article in Financial Times, backyard fish ponds may be the organic vegetable plots of tomorrow, an easy way for families to sustainably produce their own food.
But first the West needs to get over its aversion to eating carp.
Jimmie Hepburn, organic aquaculture proponent and a one-man carp PR team, points out:
At a time when stocks of many wild fish are under pressure, farmed carp could play an important and sustainable role in meeting our future food requirements. He thinks carp are not only underrated when it comes to flavour, but that they also lend themselves well to controlled cultivation, rather like a kind of aquatic rabbit.
Unlike rabbits, carp are omnivorous and content to live in murky, low-oxygen ponds, making them more sustainable than farmed salmon or trout, which both require high-protein feed. They also lack a fluffy tail or any discernible cuteness, but this is probably a plus, at least when harvest time arrives.
Purged in spring water and deboned, carp is "clean and fine-flavoured, sweet and succulent," and was rated positively in a blind tasting on the British television show River Cottage. Carp have a long tradition on the table in Asian and Eastern European countries; perhaps it is time to give them a little space in our backyards — and on our plates.
What do you think? Will backyard fish farming be the next trend in kitchen gardens? Or is carp better off in the pond than on the plate?
• Read the article: The return of the eco-friendly carp - at Financial Times
Anjali Prasertong is a cook and food writer based in Los Angeles, California. She is studying to become a registered dietician.
Related: How to Cook a Whole Fish