Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Sign in to follow this  
Mayhaw Man

Crawfish Supply and demand

Recommended Posts

Kim Severson, one of the very, very good guys who has been doing great work here in New Orleans and the surrounding area, had a piece in today's NYT food section about the crawfish market (or lack of a supply for that market). It's nicely done and has some swell photos taken by some guy name Pableaux.


Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Last May, the crawfish we had at Sidmar's were $6 for 2 lbs. The people at the next table said that was outrageously expensive. For someone coming from NJ/NY, it didn't seem so to me, but they knew best. I'm sure that same appetizer would be about double that, which again, is something a tourist from out of town might not think twice about paying (if they are even available). But I can see how, for the locals who have crawfish 2-3 times a week this time of year, this shortage just adds insult to injury.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pableaux Johnson? Cajun/italian mother with a regular joe dad....must be from N.O...

I actually know several people who fit the bill.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Pableaux Johnson? Cajun/italian mother with a regular joe dad....must be from N.O...

I actually know several people who fit the bill.

Nah, he's from St Martinville. He wrote a really good book last year that was inconveniently published just prior to the place getting all blowed up-Eating New Orleans-which was the basis for The Perleaux's travels the last time that they were down here. Nice guy and the man whom I would nominate as the maker of the most consistently good red beans on earth. He is a bean cooking fool, that boy.


Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I respect anyone who knows how to make a great pot of redbeans. I'll have to check out his recipe and see what tricks he can teach.

We've had to nix a couple of crawfish boils already because of price and availability. Early, really pre-season, there were bugs on the market and I was able to buy and freeze. I like etouffee', but it's just not the same as a crawfish boil. We almost went crabbing instead, but then I remembered we don't have a warf anymore and lost heart. Shrimp anyone?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was wondering what effect the spillage from oil and chemical processing plants during Rita and Katrina would have on the crawfish and other agricultural interests in the area.

The draining of wetlandsacross our nation has proven to be a multifaced problem. Maybe folks will finally wake up and realize how important to our environmental infrastructure these wetlands are.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I was wondering what effect the spillage from oil and chemical processing plants during Rita and Katrina would have on the crawfish and other agricultural interests in the area.

The draining of wetlandsacross our nation has proven to be a multifaced problem. Maybe folks will finally wake up and realize how important to our environmental infrastructure these wetlands are.

Most of the catastrophic spillage directly related to plants (as opposed to having something like 1/2 million cars underwater) occurred in St Bernard Parish. St Bernard will be dealing with the results of some of these accidents for years to come, but it won't have much effect on crawfish, or even seafood in general.

Crawfish come from 2 primary sources-rice ponds that are active early in the season before planting (early spring) and the Atchafalaya Basin, which is active longer and later in the season. The problem is that there was a drought after (and before) the storm and we had a very, very hot fall (we were in the nineties here well into October). This means that rice farmers who have to pump water to fill their fields were less likely to do it due to the crazy cost of diesel fuel last fall (as an example, to fill a 15 acre rice field for duck hunting this fall cost my dad, or at least the farmer, about 6K. It's not something that everyone is willing or able to do after a year when crops took two huge hits from storms). Rice farmers below I-10 also had to deal with, as did the sugar cane boys, salt water intrusion from the marsh. Fields that have been filled with salt water are not exactly conducive to raising crawfish.

Prices should drop towards the end of the season, as they almost always do-it's just a question of how much and how soon. This happened a couple of years ago and then last year, there were so many and they were so cheap that people were boiling several times a week. It's a great way to have an easy, low cost, party and you can do it in the drop of a hat if you know what you are doing and you have the gear for it.

I've only had them twice this year and they were very expensive. Shrimp are actually cheaper at this point and we have been eating them by the ice chest load. So there's not that much to complain about, I guess.


Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Crap.

Crap, crap, crap.

.....

Dammit.

I want my friggin' crawfish!

Perhaps I'll look into selling my firstborn...


Bridget Avila

My Blog

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I was wondering what effect the spillage from oil and chemical processing plants during Rita and Katrina would have on the crawfish and other agricultural interests in the area.

The draining of wetlandsacross our nation has proven to be a multifaced problem. Maybe folks will finally wake up and realize how important to our environmental infrastructure these wetlands are.

I don't think Katrina and Rita is the biggest problem with the crawfish crop this year. We have been under a drought in Louisiana this past year, Central and North Louisiana was up to 15 inches below normal rainfall this past year and this has been bad for the crawfish farmers...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My advice: be patient, wait for "real" crawfish season and enjoy 'em lots when they're cheap. With tons of pond crawfish, we've all grown accustomed to lots of crawfish, early. I'm so damn old I can remember when you had to go out and catch 'em yourself if you wanted any at all. I just untangled my set-nets from the other fishing gear piled up in the garage and am anticipating the first foray into the Spillway to see what I can scare up...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You know, not too many people do that anymore, but I really like catching crawfish. It's a great way to kill an afternoon with friends and it's lots of fun.

It's even more fun when they are running a couple of bucks a pound and all it cost you to do it was a case of beer, some soft drinks, and a bunch of chicken necks (and I am old enough to remember when Popeye's GAVE AWAY big tubs of livers. Just gave em away. That was back when they had to cut their own chickens, though, and now they get shipped in parted out already).


Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Brooks, part of the problem in your area may be that a significant number are being exported, here for instance. The local markets have had specials on them for the past couple of weeks.


"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't have recent data, but not long ago I saw info on Louisiana importing crawfish from such places as the Sacramento River Delta in California. Louisiana may produce quantities of them, but also has consumed quantities of them, becoming an importer. (Just as France has been known as the largest wine importer in Europe.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Brooks, part of the problem in your area may be that a significant number are being exported, here for instance.  The local markets have had specials on them for the past couple of weeks.

are you sure those are Louisiana crawfish and not Chinese? Those are cheap here too, but I don't buy them on principle. I'll live on shrimp this Lenten season until the prices come down.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Brooks, part of the problem in your area may be that a significant number are being exported, here for instance.  The local markets have had specials on them for the past couple of weeks.

are you sure those are Louisiana crawfish and not Chinese? Those are cheap here too, but I don't buy them on principle. I'll live on shrimp this Lenten season until the prices come down.

I don't buy them, either, but I was tempted when I saw one pound packages of Louisiana crawfish tails for $18.99 at Albertsons! I decided to use Gulf shrimp from my freezer, instead.

I've had boiled crawfish three times this season, but luckily for me, they were comped. The ones I had this past Friday were the perfect size, and really tasty.


"I like 'em french fried pertaters." (Billy Bob Thornton as Karl, in Sling Blade.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I suspect the family's going to get somewhat burned out on shrimp here soon. Has anyone had anyluck getting fresh crabmeat? The crabs are running, but I don't have time to run any lines and catch and clean them myself. 'They' say they have no workers to process the crabs and thus, no meat. I guess I can believe that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Brooks, how did Plaquemines Parrish do, in terms of their crawfish industry being affected? I can remember the amazing crawfish we had at their Heritage Seafood Festival back in June, just before Katrina:

gallery_2_0_89003.jpg

gallery_2_0_23007.jpg

I would imagine it was completely devastated because of the storm... Read the Parrish President's message on this page..

http://www.plaqueminesparish.com/


Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Brooks, how did Plaquemines Parrish do, in terms of their crawfish industry being affected? I can remember the amazing crawfish we had at their Heritage Seafood Festival back in June, just before Katrina:

gallery_2_0_89003.jpg

gallery_2_0_23007.jpg

I would imagine it was completely devastated because of the storm... Read the Parrish President's message on this page..

http://www.plaqueminesparish.com/

Man that's a great looking picture. Got my mouth watering...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jason,

It's very unlikely that those, especially at that time of year and considering the volume that are sold, were from Plaquemines Parish. They likely came from the Atchafalaya Basin and that large tidal basin/estuary/swamp was pretty much unaffected in any major way by either of the storms. It can take a pretty good beating and still come out ok (though several years ago a storm (can't remember which) "turned" the water in the shallow basin and killed alot of stuff as it pretty much got so muddy that fish couldn't get enough oxygen to live-though it was the beneficiary of a major restocking effort that has got it back on the right track-it's an amazing place, that basin, though most people only see a small portion of it as the pass between BR and Lafayette), especially for crawfish, as they live in the mud anyway and the lack of fish (main predators, along with birds and small mammals) does them nothing but good.

Hopefully, as the year progresses and the basin bugs come into play, the prices will slowly drop. I'm looking forward to boiling season.


Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Kim Severson, one of the very, very good guys who has been doing great work here in New Orleans and the surrounding area, had a piece in today's NYT food section about the crawfish market (or lack of a supply for that market). It's nicely done and has some swell photos taken by some guy name Pableaux.

Pableaux Johnson has an article in the new Savour mag this month. It's on blackened redfish...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pableaux Johnson has an article in the new Savour mag this month. It's on blackened redfish...

He's everywhere. Everywhere, I tell you!

Look for him soon in the National Inquirer.

"Aliens from St Martinville take over World Food Press"


Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So we'll be in town next week--where CAN we get the goods, regardless of price?


Food is a convenient way for ordinary people to experience extraordinary pleasure, to live it up a bit.

-- William Grimes

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As you head into N.O., off I-10 take Williams blvd. to the right and go until you get to Jefferson HWy. go left and before you know it you are in RiverRidge, then Harahan, then Meterie...and there are several seafood places on the road. If you go right off of Jefferson, you will end up on River road...Take RiverRoad back into N.O. ,. Watch the speed traps on river road..hell, all through Jefferson.

I don't know what they're asking though. I suspect those will be high end crawfish.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We stopped in Breaux Bridge last week, and were in N.O. as well. Everybody said there was no crawfish available. Some said it was because of the storm, others because it was too early. It's still a little early here in SE TX. We have several farms west of here, but I've seen nothing in the paper about anyone selling any yet.


Stop Family Violence

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...