Sunday, May 25, 2014

Serious Emergency on the Eastern Shore: Scarcity of Crabs

Like many of you, I will spend at least a portion of this weekend thoroughly standing the concept of why we solemnify Monday on its ear by laughing and feasting with friends at two barbecues, the first of which happened last night at a friend's lovely place on the Tred Avon nearby.  Amidst the burgers, tasty hot
sausages and libation occurred a discussion that we seem to have more and more often in these parts lately, the possibility of a "crabless" summer.  

As many of you know, the Chesapeake provides us with the wondrous "blue crab".  I first began to eat crabs at the elbow of my father, who taught me not only to savor them but how to properly consume them.  There is good meat in those segmented phalanges, which only wasteful barbarians throw into the pile of shells picked clean.  I can sit down and polish off a dozen and a half large crabs in a sitting, leaving behind nary enough meat for a couple of houseflies.  But not this summer.

As the story linked to tells us, there is a shortage of crabs this year.  In many commodities, this means generally that the price would go up, and that is something we see clearly on the Shore this year, but I believe I would pay almost any reasonable price to sit down to a tasty feast of Old Bay dusted callinectes sapidus. No, the problem is not price, it is size.  The crabs are not only expensive, they are small, and light.  Simply put, they are too young to be worth the effort to extract their bounty.  Every now and then in other years, I would sit down to a pile of these lovelies and run across one that was a stretch to call a "medium" let alone large. Those are the norm this year, I am told.  

I will miss crab feasts this summer, but I simply will not sit down and pay $100 for a dozen crabs that should have spent more time in the water.  

No comments:

Newer Post Older Post Home