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99 Ranch - how do they source their seafood?

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I am thinking of having some friends over for an old fashioned crab boil. The crabs at 99 Ranch are w/in my budget. Almost all of my guests are cool with patronizing 99 Ranch and other Asian markets in my area. There is one couple (whose budget is richer than mine) that squirms when the mention of 99 Ranch or any of the local ethnic markets comes up. If I have my party I'd like to inform the skeptics (and to ease my own mind) as to how 99 Ranch sources their crabs.

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  1. If we're talking about Dungeness crab, then they're getting it from the same place that Whole Foods does: Fishermen that are trapping them along the West Coast and selling them to wholesale distributors. The difference is that Ranch 99 will keep them in live tanks when Whole Foods will cook/freeze/thaw/etc. The local source is abundant this time of year so there's no need to import them from China if that's what the couple is worried about.

    Personally, I would rather buy them from a live tank in Ranch 99 than from Safeway/WholeFoods/etc. Even if those other stores have a live tank, there's much faster turnover at Ranch 99. I bought 5 of them from a local Asian market on Thanksgiving and they were fantastic. They sold them for $3.69/lb which I think was a loss leader or they made up profits in sheer volume. There were 6 huge tanks.

    But wherever you decide to buy your crabs, have fun and enjoy your crab boil!

    4 Replies
    1. re: seamunky

      What, they lose a buck on every crab but make it up on the volume??

      (JK...I know what you mean!)

      1. re: seamunky

        Thanks, this is very informative. For me the turnover factor is really important.

        1. re: free sample addict aka Tracy L

          You can also comfort your friends by telling them that Dungeness only range from the Aleutian Islands (Alaska) to about Santa Barbara, CA so there are no Asian dungeness crabs. They're named after Dungeness, WA.

          1. re: seamunky

            ooh, I like that explanation. If they still don't want the crab then there will be more for the rest of us.

      2. Lately I've been experiencing the what feels like low-level sneering (eyebrows raised, "oh, really?") from friends when I say I get my produce at Ranch99 and SuperKing. I've been so much happier with my finds there compared with when I shopped at a regular market. And Whole Foods makes me grumpy when I have to shop there - I feel ripped off. I just don't understand how they are making people feel more virtuous by shopping there.

        3 Replies
        1. re: khh1138

          Thanks, I am glad I am not the only one who gets the questionable look or too when I mention my favorite local "ethnic" markets.

          Someone a long time ago told me some of these markets make good deals with local growers (or fishermen) because of the demand from their customers. If this is true these markets have always been locavores, but without the trendy name.

          1. re: khh1138

            I shop for produce at our local Korean market -- Galleria. It's excellent & cheaper than Whole Foods. People make so many assumptions about ethnic markets, it's a little tiresome.

            1. re: khh1138

              That's unfortunate. It's a GLOBAL market. Just because it's sold at an east Asian market doesn't mean it's grown in east Asia. Most of the greens (bok choy, gai lan, etc.) are grown in California. On the other hand, that out of season tomato and asparagus sold are imported. Ranch99 sells tomatoes from Mexico not from China...same as Safeway, etc.