NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) – Ash Wednesday is the official begin of the Lenten season. For individuals who observe, it’s a interval of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving in preparation for Easter.
Throughout this time, many trustworthy will abstain from consuming crimson meat and rooster, and select to dine over seafood dishes– like crawfish, shrimp, fish, and oysters.
“Often we now have a line exterior the door,” mentioned David Nunez, an worker at Michael’s Seafood in Jefferson. “We keep busy. We just about run out of crawfish day-after-day.”
Now that the Lenten season is right here, he mentioned they’re preparing for the frenzy of individuals.
“Look, you may’t even park out right here generally as a result of we bought so many individuals,” he mentioned. “The movement is coming. In March, March insanity. [It’s] vast open. We’d transfer 200 to 300 sacks [of crawfish] by way of this place.”
Proper now, he mentioned the value of crawfish is affordable at $3.35/pound of stay crawfish, and $4.35/pound for boiled. However on the subject of different seafoods, clients ought to count on increased prices as a result of elements like labor scarcity, inflation, and an trade nonetheless recovering from pure disasters.
“No one comes on the lookout for work. So we’re short-handed,” mentioned Nunez. “The worth of gasoline is thru the roof. Fishermen are paying extra for gasoline. Extra for bait. Extra for gasoline. We gotta truck these crawfish from Lafayette. It prices cash.”
Nunez mentioned as a result of demand and the fee, one seafood they’ll’t get proper now could be crab. Oysters are arduous to return by too.
“Throughout the board, oysters are very very costly,” mentioned Tommy Cvitanovich, proprietor of Drago’s Seafood Restaurant.
He mentioned the rise in seafood costs is inflicting him to rethink how he runs his enterprise. He’s needed to quickly take away sure oyster dishes off his menu– just like the fried oyster po’boy.
“I can let you know this week alone, the prices of my charbroiled oyster– the completed oyster to go to the table– has gone up about 25 cents due to the rise in value this week per oyster,” mentioned Cvitanovich.
He mentioned oysters are up as a result of there aren’t sufficient of them, due to the Bonnet Carre Spillway opening three years in the past he mentioned killed off younger oysters. That, on prime of oyster fishermen preventing inflation prices, paying extra for gasoline, labor, and sacks.
As well as, Cvitanovich mentioned crabmeat has doubled in value, going from about $18 two years in the past to about $40 at the moment.
“So now, the restauranteur has a pair choices to make: put much less crabmeat, elevating costs. Do I am going to an imported crab meat? Do I am going to a frozen crabmeat?”
For these within the seafood trade, from market to restaurant, they imagine costs will cool down… ultimately.
“We will get them. It’s only a matter of getting them on the proper value,” mentioned Nunez.
Whereas oyster and crab costs could also be excessive, each Nunez and Cvitanovich mentioned crawfish and shrimp pricing had solely a small improve. Each companies say they’re wanting ahead to a busy Lenten season and a busy crawfish season.
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