November 17, 2009
The 2010 Louisiana Red Claw Crawfish Season Has Begun
Encouraging news for all the Louisiana transplants located across the United States. The red claw crawfish season is now underway starting in mid-November which has not happened in quite a few years. Conditions are right for one of the best crawfish seasons to date.
The New Orleans Crawfish, Seafood/Cajun Food Division operated by GM Sal Junda has dedicated fisherman bringing in Louisiana Red Claw Crawfish every morning where they are inspected for quality, packaged and then shipped across the country to restaurants and retail customers. We offer discounted pricing to the general public. The reason we can do this is because we keep our overhead to a minimum. So give us a call and enjoy the savings and get your taste buds fired up because MUDBUGS ARE BACK IN SEASON!
Call 504-838-4889 for ordering options, current prices and shipping options.
The Crawfish Company of Central Florida, a multi state company divided into three divisions:
- Orlando Cajun Catering/Restaurant Division – provides Cajun Catering and event planning for Central Florida. Orlando Florida – 407-384-9211 For booking.
- New Orleans Crawfish/Seafood/Cajun Food Division- provides live and boiled Louisiana crawfish, shrimp, blue crab, fish, oysters, alligator, turtle, sausages at retail and wholesale pricing. New Orleans Louisiana – 504-838-4889 For ordering
- Turkeyfryerexpress.com – providing all the equipment you need to cook Louisiana Cuisine from crawfish boiling kits to state of the art turkey fryers. We have equipment tailored for every region of the country, such as Boston – Stainless Steel Lobster Steaming Kits to North Carolina – Low Country Boil Kits.
The Crawfish Company Of Central Florida’s sister company- Cajun Paddy Inc. opened the Harp and Celt Restaurant and Irish Pub in the historic district of downtown Orlando in August 2007. The Harp and Celt hold the distinction of being a five star business based on customers reviews over the past two years. The Harp and Celt is located at 25 South Magnolia Avenue, Orlando FL 32801 – 407-481-2928 for reservations or inquiries. The Crawfish Company also shares their commercial kitchen with the Harp and Celt.
The long awaited Louisiana Crawfish Season has started with deliveries to the Crawfish Co. Of Central Fla., Inc. based in Kenner, Louisiana beginning Friday, January 9, 2009. Our fisherman are back from the holidays and bringing their sacks of crawfish in. Prices are a bit steep as they always are at the beginning of the season, but look for those prices to start dropping as we clear Super Bowl and then Fat Tuesday on Febrauary 24, 2009. Look for the very best prices in April, May and June. Air cargo prices are up with Delta, United and US Air. Southwest leads the pack with the lowest shipping prices of the major air lines. The higher prices for shipping are due to new security requirements required by the TSA. Thankfully Southwest flies to the majority of destinations and can keep the shipping prices managable.
Give Sal or Darnel a call at 504-838-4889 for pricing and availability for your next crawfish boil. We have lower prices due to the fact that we sell in quanity. We pass these savings on to you.
For those of you in the Central Florida area where our Cajun Catering and Restaurant Division is located, we are taking reservations for you to have your own Louisiana Crawfish Boil catered by the same folks that cater the Rajuncajun Crawfish Festival, The Flophouse Crawfish Festival and the St. Cloud Crawfish Festival. Let the professionals come out to your event and prepare Louisiana Crawfish as we do it in Louisiana.
Don’t forget, we will be serving our crawfish every Tuesday from our new pub and restaurant, “The Celt Irish Pub” at 25 South Magnolia Ave, Orlando, FL 32801 from 5:00 PM until we run out beginning February 10, 2009 thru July 2009.
The 2008 Louisiana Crawfish Season is now underway. What type of season will we have? Early indications are crawfish will once again be available to crawfish lovers across the country. But with one main difference this year and that is price.
Due to the dramatic increase of fuel, overhead costs from harvesting the crawfish to actually flying the crawfish on national air carriers or shippers such as federal express or UPS has increased significantly. These costs will be passed on to the consumer in higher crawfish prices.
The good news is that the actual price of the crawfish will probably remain close to last years prices due to the intense competition between crawfish suppliers such as the Crawfish Company of Central Florida Inc. based in New Orleans and Louisiana Crawfish Company based in Natchitoches Louisiana. But again, those savings will be eaten up by increased shipping costs which the suppliers have no control over. Due to an unexpectedly wet spring, look for one of the longest crawfish seasons in recent history. The season will probably last through July and possibly into August for 2008.
The average cost on the major air carriers with the exception of Southwest Air cargo will range between .79c to .99c per pound due to the fuel surcharge, US Tax and Security charges. Southwest has managed to keep their price increases minimal due to lower operating expenses. Southwest ranges between .54c per pound to .61c per pound at the time of the writing of this blog.
So on the one hand; expect a great Louisiana crawfish season which will probably end sometime in late July or August, but be prepared for higher costs due to shipping to get your beloved crawfish.
Price Comparison Between Crawfish Companies
At the time of this update, we are selling our Louisiana crawfish for $1.75 a pound for a 40-lb sack of crawfish and $1.50 per pound for 80-lbs or more plus shipping and handling. The breakdown is as follows:
Our Price: 40-lbs @ $1.75 = $70.00 | 1ea. 6-lb. bag Of seasoning $8.00 | Shipping Container $10.00 | Shipping on Southwest Air Lines $61.00 | Total Cost $149.00 or $3.73 per pound airport to airport.
Louisiana Crawfish Company: 40-lbs $170.00 or $4.25-lb seasoning included airport to airport.
Kyle LeBlanc: 40-lbs $181.00 or $4.53-lb
New Orleans Overnight: Currently Not Shipping
Bayou Bounty Seafood: 40-lbs plus seasoning $90.00 Shipping Next Day Air $203.78 Total $293.78 or $7.34-lb.
To order our Louisiana Live or Boiled Crawfish, contact our New Orelans Seafood Division at 504-838-4889. We also have a complete selection of seafood and Cajun foods available to restaurants, seafood stores and retail customers. You can see our products online at: http://www.crawfishcoofcentralflainc.com/Louisiana-Crawfish-Delivered.html.
Prices are subject to change during major holidays.
Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler!
The 2007 crawfish season is finally showing lower prices. The spillway crawfish are finally coming into their own and giving relief to pricing set by the pond crawfish farmers. As of this writing, the Crawfish Co. Of Central Fla., Inc. is selling 40-lbs for $1.80 per lb. plus $50.00 for aircargo and $10.00 for handling and packaging for a total of $132.00 Airport to Airport. That breaks down to a total cost of $3.30 per lb. These prices will continue to go down as we get into April and May.
When shopping for the best price for crawfish, remember to find out what the shipping and handling is and make your decision with the total costs. Also, the best advertisement for any business is word of mouth. Talk to your friends that have ordered from different companies and get their opinion on the quality of the crawfish, the customer service, the followup on keeping you informed on the status of your shipment and the assistance that they give you in helping you to have the best crawfish boil in your neighborhood. These all matter and can make a huge difference in the experience that you have when hosting a crawfish boil for the first time.
Remember to avoid planning a crawfish boil for Easter or Mothers Day. The fisherman always spike the prices during these holidays. And I didn’t think a crawfish was capable of knowing when holidays were.
Folks, on that note, please enjoy this crawfish season and party on!
Rick Boyd – GM
This should be a good year for the consumer for Louisiana Red Claw Crawfish. The 2006 winter brought much needed rain and with the crawfish ponds replenished and cleaned up we will be in for one great season. Look for the spillway crawfish season to begin in March 2007. Add this to the competition between the different crawfish companies and you get a winning formula for the consumer.
The Louisiana Crawfish Company has fired the first shot by offering 40-lbs of crawfish with seasoning for $3.29 per lb. They don’t advertise a price without seasoning, but this is still a great deal this early in the season. This price includes shipping and handling with no hidden fees.
The Crawfish Company Of Central Florida beat their price for 40-lbs of crawfish without seasoning at $3.30 per lb. that includes shipping and handling with no hidden fees. But, if you buy 80-lbs the price drops to $3.00 per lb. The price drops to $2.85 when you buy 120-lbs and even further at $2.80-lb for 160-lbs or more. Also, the Crawfish Company Of Central Florida sell’s a 6-lb bag of dry crawfish seasoning for $8.00 that’s strong enough for 80-lbs of crawfish that received recognition April 22, 2005 from the Wall Street Journal as being “the real deal”.
New Orleans Overnight comes in third with 40-lbs of crawfish at $3.10 per lb. followed by Kyle LeBlanc at $4.80 per lb.
The advantage at the beginning of the season is in the Louisiana Crawfish Companies favor. They own and harvest their own farms in Natchitoches, LA. But this advantage is only a temporary one. Once the spillway crawfish season starts, they won’t be able to compete with the low prices that the locals sell their crawfish for.
The Crawfish Company of Central Florida, Inc. buys from local fisherman in Metairie, Louisiana and ships out of Louis Armstrong Airport five minutes away from the warehouse. They also don’t have the overhead that the Louisiana Crawfish Company has maintaining their ponds and stock. This translates into savings to the customer. Prices will drop as the season goes on and it is guaranteed that the Crawfish Company Of Central Florida will have lower prices and more shipping options due to their access to Louis Armstrong Airport.
Competition is a good thing for the consumer. Look for better prices from all the crawfish companies this year. The best price and the best service will be what determine who does well this year.
Below is a current price comparison courtesy of the Louisiana Crawfish Company. Be advised, this was updated the March 28, 2007 and definitely will change.
Price Wt. Price Per lb.
Kyle LeBlanc $175.00 40-lbs $4.37
Crawfish Co. Of Central Fl. $132.00 40-lbs $3.30
New Orleans Overnight $186.00 60-lbs. $3.10
Bayou County Not Available
Louisiana Crawfish Company $115.15 35-lbs. $3.29
Just a bit of advise for customers that are searching the web for the best crawfish prices. If you see a price that seem’s extremely low, make a call and find out about shipping and handling costs. After you include those prices, it’s not such a good deal. The best deals are with shipping and handling included in a total price.
The crawfish competition will be strong this year which is a win-win situation for the consumer. This should be the case unless we end up in a drought situation in the late spring due to the El Nino weather pattern. That would cause an early end to the crawfish season. But let’s just wait and see what happens.
For 50 years, Don’s Seafood and Steakhouse in downtown Lafayette has specialized in crawfish dishes — always featuring Louisiana crawfish. But this year, the menu is likely to get a bit slimmer.
Farmers, fishers and buyers say only about 20 percent of the state’s crawfish crop survived the salty water brought inland by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and a drought in the Atchafalaya basin.
And Don’s Seafood owner Ashby “Rocky” Landry Jr. said he refuses to put Chinese crawfish in his dishes. Never has, never will.
Crawfish lovers are unlikely to find the live Louisiana delicacy for less than $3 a pound wholesale in coming months. And processed crawfish meat, which is unlikely to show up at all, is likely to fetch $30 a pound.
The crawfish-starved consumer is at the end of a long list of people who will be affected by the scarcity of mudbugs. Without the extra income that crawfish brings to rice farmers, some may hang up their traps, agriculture experts say. And about 5,000 seasonal jobs are likely to be eliminated if the state’s 15 to 20 crawfish-processing plants don’t open. Additionally, an untold number of independent fishers who catch wild crawfish may see their crawfish income disappear this season.
“I’ve never seen it this bad,” said David Savoy, past president of the Louisiana Crawfish Farmers Association, who raises rice and crawfish about 30 miles northwest of Lafayette. He said his production in December was about one-third of, or 11,000 pounds below, his December 2004 harvest.
It’s estimated that the majority of the 78 million pounds of crawfish produced last year came from the areas damaged by severe weather: Rita, Katrina and a drought in the south-central part of the state.
Louisiana, the largest producer of crawfish in North America, brings its crawfish to consumers in two ways. First is the licensed fishers who use traps, primarily in the Atchafalaya basin, who caught a total of 8.3 million pounds with a wholesale value of nearly $5 million in 2004. Second, the state’s 1,226 farmers produce 69.5 million pounds of crawfish on 118,250 acres last year for a wholesale value of $41.7 million.
Nothing to eat
But this year, Hurricanes Rita’s storm surge wiped out crawfish ponds and their symbiotic rice fields in Cameron and Vermilion parishes in the south.
“These areas were completely inundated with tidal surge,” said farmer David la Cour. “It left aquatic life, fish, crabs and shrimp, destroying the seed crop.”
Rice farmers often “seed” their rice fields with crawfish. In the summer months, when the rice is growing and the water table is lower, the crawfish burrow down to the water table. Female crawfish lay their eggs, and the hatchlings attach to the mother’s tail. After farmers harvest the rice, they flood their fields. That’s the sign for a female to dig to the surface and feed on the green shoots left from the harvested rice.
While crawfish can tolerate high salt content, the rice and grasses crawfish feed on can’t. The salinity from the surge killed the short green shoots of harvested rice on which the crawfish would eat. Don Benoit, a crawfish farmer and buyer, said the salinity level in his fields was 8,500 to 9,000 parts per million, about five times what the vegetation needed to support crawfish can withstand.
“The LSU Agriculture Center has no experience with this kind of condition. We don’t know what the parameters of this are, of how long it will take to get the salt out of the soil and irrigated. And our irrigation sources have salt in them,” said la Cour, who farms 500 acres.
La Cour and others are concerned that the high salinity levels could last for years.
Farmers who weren’t affected by the salty storm surge were nonetheless affected by the storm.
“The tidal surge stopped five miles from my property, but water quality is still our biggest problem,” Savoy said. Salty rains and wind-driven leaves and other organic debris turned ponds black, killing the oxygen in the ponds that helps keep the rice shoots alive.
The crawfish harvest is often the lagniappe that determines whether farmers end the year in the red or in the black, Savoy said.
“We’ve had the highest rice production in the history of this state,” Savoy said, but prices are so low that farmers aren’t making enough to pay the bills. “Without the crawfish, they may be dead in the water.
“I fear we’ll see a big loss of farmers, as high as 80 percent,” he said. “When they go out and get that (nonfarming) job, we could lose a generation of farmers. You’ll have a rough time getting them back.”
The live crawfish harvesting season by licensed fishers, which normally begins in March, is in jeopardy because drought conditions and low water levels have almost dried out the Atchafalaya basin.
If river waters don’t rise, or if substantial rains don’t fall this winter, the wild live crawfish season will also be very poor.
“It’s just a double whammy this year,” said Stephen Minvielle of Abbeville, chairman of the Louisiana Crawfish Promotion and Research Board, a state agency.
Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Bob Odom said he sees no financial relief for crawfish farmers and producers in state or federal relief packages to date, other than the tax breaks contained for businesses in the Gulf Recovery Act passed by Congress. But to take advantage of that assistance, Odom said, “you’ve got to make money, and they’re not.”
And unlike rice, crawfish is not an agricultural commodity, so farmers are not eligible for crop insurance. Many farmers and processors are demanding this insurance, which Odom supports.
“They’re telling me $50 million in losses,” Odom said. Crawfish aren’t the agriculture industry’s only problem. Pecans, cotton and livestock were also devastated in storm areas, even in northern sections of the state. Odom places the need for the state’s agricultural economic relief at $1.5 billion to $2 billion.
Processing plants close
If the demand is met for live crawfish, crawfish are then sent to processing plants, where they are stripped down to their meat by hand. To date, none of the 15 to 20 processing plants in Louisiana have opened.
It takes 7 to 9 pounds of live crawfish to create one pound of peeled tail meat. Live crawfish are selling for about $3 a pound, twice what they were selling for in December 2004. That means processors have to pay at least $21 to buy enough to make a pound of peeled crawfish, not counting the processors’ costs for labor or fuel. Think $30 or more for a pound of peeled tails — something no consumer would pay in the local grocery, farmers and officials say.
“No processing plants are going to open at those prices,” Minvielle said.
Some hold out hope that by the end of the summer, there may be enough mudbugs around for processing plants to crank up, but Savoy points out that prices would have to be in the 25 cent to 50 cent range to warrant that.
For now, Louisiana Restaurant Association Executive Director Tom Weatherly said, local restaurants are making do with frozen local tail meat that survived — Landry is working his way through 25,000 pounds — but admits that the local delicacy will be expensive and eventually disappear from local menus if the season is a total bust.
Minvielle said he believes that Chinese crawfish will take over a much larger share of restaurant customers.
“To tell you the truth, there’s a lot of restaurants out there using Asian crawfish right now, but they just won’t admit it,” Minvielle said.
Landry is optimistic. He said crawfish farming in the northern part of Louisiana will help increase production by the end of the season.
But he also worries about how much frozen crawfish was lost in the New Orleans area during Katrina, and whether demand from the area will keep prices prohibitively high. Or will the reduction in restaurants, residents and tourists soften demand?
Landry said he believes packaged crawfish will be produced in the late season — but price increases will certainly show up on the menu.
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Greg Thomas can be reached at email@example.com or (504) 826-3399
Crawfish scarce for season
Customers can expect to pay more this year. Claire Taylor
Crawfish are in short supply and more expensive this season because of the effects of a drought, two hurricanes and poor water quality, said David Savoy, president of the Louisiana Crawfish Farmers Association. “Right now, it doesn’t look really well,” he said of the winter pond crawfish crop. “You’ve lost basically all of Vermilion Parish with salt water.”
Hurricane Rita, which hit southwest Louisiana in September with a salty storm surge, affected several thousand acres of crawfish production in lower Vermilion Parish, as well as Iberia and St. Mary parishes, said Mark Shirley, county agent with the LSU Ag Center. “We don’t expect to have any crawfish this year,” said Charles Broussard of Flying J Ranch in the Vermilion Parish community of Forked Island. The storm surge contained so much salt that it left a coat of white on his fields when the water finally receded, Broussard said.
Before Hurricane Katrina hit South Louisiana in August, crawfish farmers were dealing with a drought, which required that they pump more water into ponds to provide a habitat for the crawfish, Savoy said. But after Katrina and Rita, fuel was in short supply, which delayed farmers’ ability to flood their ponds, postponing the season. Some crawfish suffered when Rita’s salt water storm surge flooded their fields. The organic material, like leaves, blown into ponds used up the oxygen some crawfish needed.
“That caused mortality in some of the mamas that burrowed down,” David Savoy said. “There are very, very few crawfish out there.” In the harsh conditions, female crawfish who were carrying their young on their tails flicked them off in order to survive themselves, said Stephen Minvielle, chairman of the Louisiana Crawfish Promotion Board. One female can carry 100 to 700 young.
“One female in good health is a sack of crawfish,” he said. Even crawfish farmers not directly hit by Hurricane Rita report problems with poor water quality and a drought.
Lack of rainfall and cold weather have left Catahoula crawfish farmer Roy Savoy with a late season. Last year he started catching crawfish in November. “We’ve got our traps out, but it doesn’t look good,” he said. “The few they have in the trap, four to five per trap, they’re some nice crawfish, but they’re not plentiful.”
Not all crawfish farmers are suffering. In Jefferson Davis Parish north of Interstate 10, Tony Godeaux of Quality Crawfish has been harvesting crawfish since Dec. 5. He’s harvesting about 400 acres a day, producing 20-30 sacks per day. “That’s almost on track for where it was this time last year,” he said. “The crawfish are actually there, they’re just not feeding because of the cold water temperatures.”
Prices are good for farmers producing a crawfish crop, Godeaux said. Consumers will pay more, but farmers need to charge more to recoup increased fuel prices, he said. The bottom line: Crawfish are available, but consumers can expect to pay.
“There is crawfish in the marketplace,” Minvielle said. “There are very few and they are expensive, unfortunately.” Originally published December 13, 2005