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Old 05-30-2007, 10:01 AM   #1
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Soft Shell Crabs 2007

Some of you may recall the brouhaha last year when Whole Foods/Fresh Fields markets hit the news with their announcement that they would no longer be selling live soft-shell crabs (although frozen was ok) or lobsters in their stores because of boycotts from certain animal rights advocates that it was cruel.

So this season, two things have already caught my attention - both outrageous.

1) Last Saturday husband & I were at the Whole Foods in Charlottesville, VA, & saw their frozen soft-shell crabs. Get this - two cleaned crabs, absolutely no larger than 4 inches (point to point), marked "JUMBO" (what a joke!!!!), & going for $10.99 per package. I'm not kidding when I say that due to the size of the crabs it would probably take about 4 of those packages to feed two people. Compare that to my local gourmet/seafood shop that sells fresh LIVE soft-shell crabs, SIX inches point-to-point, for $5.00 each. Go figure.

2) Today's New York Times Food Section had an article & recipe by Mark Bittmann for "Soft Shell Crab Po' Boy" sandwiches. There was a video/slide show accompanying the article, which was prefaced by the following:

"(Warning: Contains images of violence to crabs.)"


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Old 05-30-2007, 10:31 AM   #2
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Last year I noticed the high price of soft shell crabs and was too taken aback to buy them! AND, like you said, they were VERY small. It used to be I could serve two per person and it would be a nice meal - or at least a VERY large appetizer. I'll have to take a look to see what our market offers now.

So, according to the animal rights activists it's ok for the stores to be "cruel" by killing them first? OK, I certainly understand that

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Old 05-30-2007, 10:59 AM   #3
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It all seems hypocritical to me. AFAIC, Unless you're a vegan, you have no right to complain about cruelty to animals.

As far a the Jumbo designation. It looks like crabs are going the way of shrimp. Soon there will be colossals and extra colossals.
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Old 05-30-2007, 11:52 AM   #4
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Actually, the 6" point-to-point ones I got at my local market had a new designation all their own. They were called "whale size" - lol!!!!
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Old 05-30-2007, 04:39 PM   #5
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Yet another point - if I were Whole Foods, I'd be more concerned about selling such tiny little juvenile crabs rather than whether or not the processor kills the crabs or I do.

Limiting the softshell catch to large (5"-7") adults would help boost the supply. That plus truly enforcing against taking female hardshells with eggs, or mating pairs, could turn the market around.

Boy, would that be nice!!!
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Old 05-31-2007, 02:15 PM   #6
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Had some GREAT soft shells at the beach recently. Sauteed them and served them with a browned butter vinaigrette dressing. They were fresh (I cleaned them) and were $5 each--very large and meaty. Worth every penny. I fixed some from my freezer stash last week for our kids--still delicious.
The ones at WF in Denver were small and $5 each. I declined.
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