NEW ORLEANS, La. (WWL-TV) – Believe it or not, crawfish season has started and many are already getting their claws on the seasonal treat at local places around town.
For several weeks, seafood markets and restaurants have been serving crawfish to hungry customers and they said if you’re ready for it, it’s available.
“Well the season actually starts in November,” said Deanie’s Seafood owner, Chandra Chifici Scarber. “A lot of people don’t realize that. People don’t think about crawfish this time of year, they think it more along the lines of Lent and Mardi Gras, but we usually start buying after Thanksgiving.”
It may be December, but many are already cooking up an appetite for crawfish.
“Born and raised on it, nothing like it,” said Emanuel Lee.
“When I see the signs and they say crawfish I’m stopping,” said Sheila Hunter.
Local eateries are responding.
“I’m always excited about crawfish season,” said Broadview Seafood manager, Victoria Le. “It brings more business for us.”
Le said they’ve offered multiple batches a day for the past month to hungry customers.
“Right now, they’re getting like a pound or two to test it out because it’s still kind of high,” she said, talking about the price.
The start of crawfish season can sometimes bring a size and price that’s not appetizing for everyone.
“Some people see the price and they say they want to wait,” said Schaefer Seafood owner, Merlin Schaefer. “Which you can’t blame them. At $5.00 per pound, you know you have to wait.”
Schaefer said he started selling crawfish about three weeks ago and the taste is there and his sales have been hot.
“For being this early they do have fat in them, they’re delicious right now,” he said. “We have quite a few regular customers who come in and they’re all excited saying ‘Crawfish is back already?’ Yes! You know, I don’t care what they cost.'”
Die hard seafood fans are willing to pay the price.
“I mean, people who are die-hard crawfish eaters, they’re going to pay whatever the price is because they want it,” said Scarber.
Deanie’s Seafood is right across the street from Schaerfer’s in Bucktown. Scarber says she’s seeing the same thing from customers and that the crawfish she started buying last week, were “beautiful.”
“There were a few older mixed in,” she said. “But that’s typical. They looked actually really great for being the first crops you know coming out in the first few weeks.”
Scarber’s latest shipment has since sold out, and she’s hopeful this season will be a good one.
“Oh yeah, they’re already gone and I’m waiting for our next shipment now,” she said. “People in New Orleans love their mud bugs so they’ll take them any chance they get.”
However for many, it’s not about when in the season you buy several pounds, but why. That’s the part they say they crave the most.
“Crawfish brings the family together, there’s nothing like it,” said Lee.
“When people see seafood it’s like, ‘man, I remember when I was a kid, we used to have crawfish boils.’ It gives a little childhood memory back,” said Schaefer.