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Feb 23, 2009 07:56 PM

How's the Stone Crab this year?

My clock is ticking....I only have 5 weeks left....

Should I spend money that I don't have (in the hopes of providing economic stimulus) to travel down to FLA for the stone crab this year or just sit back and ride it out till next year in the hopes that things will be better?

If the take this year is SUPER delicious, I'll find a way. If it's so-so, I'll sit back in the Carolina's and dream of all you lucky b's eating my claws. :-)

Please advise ASAP because I'm torn - do I continue to work, work, work OR take a day or two to eat claws and drink beer?

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  1. October mid I think the 12 or 14, sorry, date slips my mind is opening season, best prices are then. It is feb end of season, good prices bad selection for me. I don't buy now. I get a few hundred and have bags, but never eat any other time of the year.

    1. All I can say is that I was at Joe's Stone Crab a few days ago and it was as fantastic as ever... and the weather all week was glorious.

      1. Still ok at restaurants but I know where they get theirs from. Some places are still having luck. I just don't buy any from beginning of march on

        10 Replies
        1. re: kchurchill5

          Season goes from Mid Oct to Mid May. I am not sure why you would stop buying from March on. If you have a good fish monger there is no reason to stop buying. If anything, its the first part of season you have to watch out for. Thats when restaurants will unload any product they froze from the previous season.

          1. re: Suzie

            Usually come march the prices go way up and quality down, just my observation. I like october through Feb. I realize the season, just prices and quality are not there for me. Just my opinion is all.

            1. re: kchurchill5

              Hmmmmm, interesting. I have never noticed that but I have just about always bought mine in the Keys so they are just about as fresh as you can get. I also never buy them from a major chain grocery since those are usually if always previously frozen. This year prices are down, compared to other years, because of the economy, so it doesn't break the bank too much to pick up a few pounds here and there, lol. You can get a pound of med claws for about 11 bucks. Jumbos are around 20.

              1. re: Suzie

                My fish market is sky high, grocery store as well, just went up this week a fortune compared to 2 weeks ago. It always happens up here. Keys always tend to be lower. More abundant maybe?

                1. re: kchurchill5

                  "More abundant maybe?"
                  Thats gotta be it. Basically they are closer to the source. Many of them markets get them right off the boat. They are such a delicious treat! All this talk is making me hungry for a pound or two, lol!

                  1. re: Suzie

                    They are my ULTIMATE!! I think they just become smaller and not as fresh as the season progresses. After March I just don't as many and rely on my frozen ones. We harvest the night it opens and flash boil, cool and freeze, just reheat and freeze. They are perfection in a pot. I think some areas many have better availability and markets, just the ones by us, I find smaller and not as fresh. But yes I believe May 15 or mid May is the end. Usually April and May is hard. It depends.

                    There is nothing better then a little drawn butter with a hind of lemon and garlic.

            2. re: Suzie

              suzie - funny that the season is mid-may now. when i was growing up season used to end in March...of course that was a million years ago :)

              And oh gosh - if I could get my hands on jumbos for 20 a pound i'd be in heaven. I probably don't even need to tell the nightmare of getting claws here in NC. Way overpriced and hideous quality. Makes me want to cry just thinking of it. Although - when I see them in the display case my mouth waters thinking back to the good old days.....

              1. re: chicaraleigh

                Our group got over 400 and most don't eat crab so lets just say, I have many bags. I could eat 10-15 in one night easy. I usually bag in 10 large or 15 mediums.

                This is probably why I don't have room for all that homemade stock and other things I should be keeping. CLAWS take first by far. So do my 5 bags of FL lobster tails. A girls has to have her priorities.

                1. re: chicaraleigh

                  Hi Chicaraleigh,

                  The quality this season has been great so far, and prices are a bit lower than last year. A good alternative to traveling down here is ordering direct from Key's Fisheries ( in Marathon, I believe they are owned by the same folks as Joe's and supply their restaurants. You can get 8lbs. of mediums shipped overnight for $160.

                  1. re: juanlb

                    juan - that's an awesome tip! $160 sure is cheaper than a plane ticket, hotel and rental car....

            3. The Cortez Fish Festival was this past weekend, and I had a chance to talk to a few guys on the dock. Quantity of the catch has been good this year. Bell Fish has held their price for large/jumbo to $14/lb. Star Fish next door is about $4 higher. The fresh all sell out quickly. They had a lot of early orders for Superbowl events in Tampa.
              In certain years, and this has been one, many octopi enter the traps and take the bait, and in other years hardly any at all. Bell has handled about 3000 lbs of octopus this year, but still plenty of stone crabs. The season is through April 15.
              I get more than my share.

              5 Replies
              1. re: Veggo

                May according to my chart

                SRQ is 18-20 lb and not very good

                1. re: kchurchill5

                  Careless of me to confuse tax day with stone crab day. I hate middle age...
                  I'm not familiar with SRQ, but if they are not very good, it means they have been frozen. Fresh, fresh, is worth going the extra mile. Frozen is a 3-4 point deduct on a 10 scale.
                  The colossals are often air freighted fresh to Las Vegas and the Arabian Peninsula, plus Macau.

                  1. re: Veggo

                    3 here markets are fresh that I shop all 18 -20 and small right now. I always eat mine oct-feb then back off, the market get smaller and prices go up it seems. At least for 30 it pretty much follows the same pattern. A shame. I have my own stash. I have never got them at a market or a restaurant but always look at the prices. These are only fresh ones. Never get frozen ones. I freeze my own for obvious reasons but that is different.

                    1. re: kchurchill5

                      now you're just rubbing it in with all this "my own stash" talk....i'm drooling just thinking about it :-)

                      1. re: kchurchill5

                        Anyone ever get them from Costco? Results?