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Dec 1, 2012 12:42 PM

Is it Safe to Buy Stone Crabs from Roadside?

Hey Chowfriends... I have recently seen a few places selling Stone Crabs on side of the road for cheap pricing.... I havent stopped because it just seems wrong...too good to be true it probably is scenario. Any comments or indications that I might be wrong on this? Are they Safe? Thanks for the answers in Advance..

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  1. As Dirty Harry Callahan so succinctly put it, " . . .you've got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?"

    1. That solely depends on who you buy them from. One roadside stand here in N. Palm Beach on US-1 at the Yankee Peddler has been selling roadside on weekends for over 15 years. He is highly reliable and also carries shrimp, grouper, Fla. lobster....all caught in the Keys by his family. He usually has a line of people buying from him every Saturday and Sunday.

      I would not buy from someone who has just popped up to cash in on the season.

        1. You also have the potential for poaching. If there only a few boxes, I would be highly suspect.

          1. They might be a different quality, sometimes called "lights" or "floaters".

            "If you find Stoners sold on the cheap (usually road side stands, flea markets, small seafood stores) they're probably "floaters". It's a crab that has recently molted and the muscle hasn't filled in the shell. The claw looks big, but you'll be disappointed when it's cracked open. You're still buying by the pound, but you're getting more shell in that weight than meat."

            Note this statement is not agreed upon by all, see full discussion from 2009 here:


            2 Replies
            1. re: CFByrne

              BTW you can tell a "light" or "floater", if you click 2 claws together, you'll hear a "hollow" sound rather than a solid "clunking". It's the same test folks use for cherrystone clams to test alive .vs. dead (or nearly so).

              1. re: CFByrne

                Learn something here....all of the time.....

                Ft. Pierce, FL