CHALMETTE, La. — It’s a sight many folks in Louisiana have been waiting for, as crawfish finally crawl their way to seafood businesses and restaurants after a slow start to the season.
“This is only the third day that we have crawfish here in the business, which is extremely late,” said Jeff Pohlmann, owner of Today’s Ketch in Chalmette.
Those mudbugs are also more expensive. Pinching tails at Today’s Ketch will cost you $7.99 a pound right now, up $1.50 to $2.00 over last year.
“This is the highest I’ve ever seen crawfish,” said Pohlmann.
Pohlmann has been keeping the boilers fired up for more than three decades here and said weather is part of the problem for the late start and the high price.
“I always say crawfish is like a plant. You need rain and sunshine,” said Pohlmann.
Pohlmann said Mother Nature just isn’t providing enough of either but hopes that’ll change. If it does, customers won’t have to shell as much.
“When you tell them the price, they kind of cringe on it and say, ‘Instead of the ten pounds, just give me five pounds to start with,’” said Pohlmann.
Adding to the pot of uncertainty, a global pandemic. With large crawfish boils off the table, COVID restrictions present some business challenges.
“It’s definitely changed it because we do a lot of onsite catering for companies and big functions. We do the Louisiana Crawfish Festival here. That’s thousands of pounds and thousands of people,” said Pohlmann.
That Festival may have been canceled last year, but Pohlmann said when it comes to sales, folks still find ways to be socially distanced from each other, but not crawfish.
“They still ate their crawfish last year,” said Pohlmann. “They’re not going to do without crawfish I promise you that.”
That appetite for a Louisiana staple shows that even during a pandemic, a little culture helps ease the soul.
“There ain’t nothing like sitting out having a cold beverage and a good hot plate of crawfish,” said Pohlmann.