Where Do All Those Crawfish Come From?
March 29, 2015
Louisiana grown crawfish can be considered one of those unique treats that locals love and visitors may be leery of. Louisianans view crawfish like ‘Bubba Gump’ viewed shrimp; you got your boiled crawfish, crawfish etouffeé, fried crawfish, crawfish patties, crawfish pasta, crawfish courtbouillon, crawfish boudin…...you get the idea, but how does South Louisiana get so many crawfish for all these succulent dishes?
The crawfish “season” usually takes place during the spring months (February through June), and the rest of the year is spent preparing for the next harvest. Rice crop is grown in a couple of inches of water and once it is thick enough to create a canopy above the ground, “seed” crawfish are introduced into the water, where they burrow themselves beneath the earth. When the rice fields are drained and harvested, the crawfish are safe underground.
After the rice harvest, the fields are flooded, creating the crawfish ponds. Once the weather is comfortable for them, the female crawfish will begin to come out with babies beneath their tails. A female can hatch 400 to 900 babies and reproduce multiple times in a season. It takes about 90 days for a crawfish to reach market size, and then they are carefully harvested. Price of crawfish constantly fluctuates depending on how the winter weather affected the growth of the crawfish and on the demand from buyers…...which is usually pretty high.
Even when price is high, Louisianans still cannot help but indulge in some crawfish at least once during the season. Crawfish boils are a great excuse for family and friend get-togethers, and are often used for celebratory meals such as graduations or birthdays. If you are ever visiting south Louisiana during crawfish season, get your hands on some of those delicious “mudbugs,” “crawdads,” or as yankees (folks north of i-10) might say, “crayfish!”
By Whitney Ross, Lafayette Native