Saturday, May 17, 2008

Down on the crawfish farm...

Continuing my report on recent adventures in the South...

Folks in SW Louisiana take their crawfish very seriously. In Breaux Bridge, a crawfish queen is crowned annually at a festival honoring the little fresh water critter. And everywhere you look, there's apt to be a sign advertising boiled crawfish (below). Here in Arizona, conservation officials have declared war on the ubiquitous, invasive crawdad; in Louisiana, they farm the native crayfish (tho they don't call them by that name.)

That's why the Sson & I stopped by the roadsides several times -- to get pictures of commercial crawfish ponds. The little guys were even in evidence in the ever-present ditch next the highway, as evidenced by those round diggings. The pond below is perhaps six to twelve inches deep, with baited crawfish pots scattered about.

Here's a close up picture of a crawfish trap. And, to answer a question from one of my readers: following the devastation of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, pond-raised crawfish yields in Louisiana are rebounding. In the 2006-07 season, the crawfish harvest in the state totaled 109.2 million pounds of pond-raised crawfish, which were sold for $84.6 million, making pond-raised crawfish the state's most valuable aquaculture crop. About 1.5 million pounds of wild crawfish were harvested, with a value of $1.3 million. Crawfish exports rose, totaling $257 thousand. This according to the Louisiana State University Agricultural Center.

Comes harvest time, the pond operator sets out in a shallow-draft boat to collect the critters from the pots. The boats have wheels to move easily over land or pond embankments.

A collecting bag that got away.


Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed this post. Brought back memories of my youth. My brother and I used to catch crawdads in the San Joaquin river near Fresno. We used them as bait when we were fishing for catfish with cane poles.

Lucy said...

What a treat your Cajun trip has been to catch up with, with reptiles and food and more.

The cemetery post was interesting too, those Cajun ones look very French too. Not green and gentle, like an English churchyard at all. I'd never thought of them as gauges of demographics etc.

Do the crawfish taste good?

Anonymous said...

I note with interest that the commonly used moniker for cajun, used by both cajuns and everyone else in Louisiana viz. "COONASS" is all too absent in the various posts. Now, it could be that since 1966, my last residnce in La., that PC has run rampant and over-run an interesting expression. I distinctly recall the local name for the enclosed football stadium for the Saints
in NO was affectionably labled the "COONASTRODOME"


Granny J said...

steve -- I regularly see local kids down in Granite Creek going after crawdads, tho I've never seen the critters when I walk by the creek.

lucy -- hope everyone is enjoying my break from the hometown -- as you can tell, I had a grand time. And I particularly appreciate your comments on the Cajun world, since you can make direct comparisons between Louisiana and France. Very similar to shrimp, BTW.

bro -- didn't hear the term, but that doesn't prove anything, since I was primarily with my Sson & family.

Anonymous said...

Do they really call them 'crawfish'? Don't they say, crawdads?

Granny J said...

boonie -- I was corrected by anon in av in a recent post when I used the word crawdad, which I'm sure I learned from a folk song way back when. So, I just contacted Wikipedia via The Google and found out that Some kinds of crayfish are known locally as lobsters, crawdads, mudbugs and yabbies. In the Eastern United States, "crayfish" is more common in the north, while "crawdad" is heard more in central and western regions, and "crawfish" further south, although there are considerable overlaps.

Anonymous said...

Yay! The post I was waiting for! Crawfish, crawfish, yum, yum, yum!

Etouffee! Crawfish pizza! Boiled mudbugs! (Or, "burled".)

Yes, they really call them crawfish. That's the only word I'm used to. I can't say crawda--. Nor, can I say crayfi--.

I've been to the Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival twice, now, and never heard "crawda--" etc. Mudbug is definitely heard a lot.

Yup, Coonass...some Cajuns hate the word and some wear it as a badge.

No, I'm not Cajun by blood, but I have an "official" Honorary Cajun certificate from the Mayor of Abbeville. I listen to the music weekly, and I play a few tunes and sing in Cajun French. I love the Zydeco subculture, too. I have both Cajun and Creole friends. There are many Southwest Louisiana "expats" where I live on the Left Coast.

~Anon in AV.

Granny J said...

anon av --Wow! What enthusiasm for things Cajun! But what are they all doing on the Left Coast?

TomboCheck said...

sounds tasty to me. :)

Granny J said...

tombo -- I suspect you'd love it in Cajun land, what with all those strange sausages, fresh-caught shrimp by the roadside and crawfish boils.

smilnsigh said...

Even gas and crawfish! ,-)))


Anonymous said...

Jobs, GJ, jobs in the formerly huge DoD defense contractor companies, plus many opportunities in county and federal government jobs on the Left Coast.

And, a more open social environment.

Plus, no 100% humidity! LOL

~Anon in AV.

Granny J said...

SnS -- are you referring to all those wells, pipelines, etc. -- or what happens after a meal of Cajun food?

anon av -- you've summed up one of the Southern problems pretty well. But what has taken the place of those former DoD jobs? Everybody in govt. these days?

Lane said...

The little mud hole-home brought back memories of living on the gulf coast. And remember, to do 'em up right, you gotta suck out they little heads (if you'll pardon the expression). -FNFM

Granny J said...

FNFM -- what, no crawdads up in Memphis?

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