|Photo courtesy LA Crawfish|
|I'll take ten pounds, please. Yes, all for me.|
"The only thing better than a crawfish dinner is five crawfish dinners."
Coach Red Beaulieu, The Waterboy
Ain't that the truth? It's time to eat up, because crawfish season is upon us once again ... well, sort of.
Gulf coast crawfish season typically begins in early to mid-March, but this year has seen a small crawfish harvest due to an unseasonably cold winter and icy snaps that hit the gulf unusually late in the year.
"The one thing you should know about crawfish is they're very temperature-sensitive," says Stephen Minvielle, director at the Louisiana Crawfish Research & Promtion Board. "We don't have a lot of history on ice storms like we've had this year to compare it to. Was it a permanent negative effect? Probably not. But it's unknown."
Minvielle says that by this time of year, he's used to hauling in anywhere from 12 (on a poor day) to 22 sacks of crawfish from his operation, but his best haul so far has been 11 sacks of mudbugs.
"Fifty-eight to 65 degrees is the most wonderful temperature for crawfish," Minvielle says. "Since we had a long winter, that growth period that we usually have wasn't there. We're about 30-to-40 days behind."
Still, many restaurants here in Houston are receiving live crawfish from Louisiana and nearby farms, and while prices are high now, many spots expect the cost per pound to continue to decrease into April. You probably won't see the best crawfish of your life this year, but you can still get some good mudbugs at these places.
And remember: "When the hurricane season starts, crawfish season ends," says Minvielle, referencing the official June 1 start date of hurricane season, when warm currents begin to invade the gulf. Get 'em soon!More »