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Crawfish season is here, but festivals are still off limits

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The pandemic hit last year, just as crawfish harvest was taking place.
There is strong demand for crawfish this season, but many festivals are cancelled.

I'm hungry. If I'm hungry this time of year, it's usually for crawfish. A couple of years ago I mentioned in this column how much I enjoy a good crawfish meal – boiled, fried, gumbo or etouffee. 

Last year was a big bust for crawfish. Just as things were gearing up for a good mudbug season, the pandemic hit, restaurants closed and crawfish festivals were canceled. We were all cloistered. 

But this year as I began to notice crawfish chimneys in low lying fields, along slow-moving water and even around my pond, my craving was triggered big time. But I have heard very little so far about crawfish festivals or events around the Midsouth. 

I went to my favorite oyster place last week hoping I could get some. I never miss out there. I was disappointed that they didn't have crawfish at all, they didn't even have etouffee which they usually have year-round.  

I didn't feel too slighted because the oysters were right on point. I lean a bit to the oyster side anyway. But, during the shorter crawfish season, I want what I want. 

This morning I Googled "crawfish festivals" and was very disappointed. Many organizations have canceled their 2021 crawfish events. Some have not even updated their sites since 2020. Only a few communities are planning to hold some of the smaller events. 

I understand the risk of attending these large events during the pandemic. But, as has been highlighted throughout the past year, the revenue that these events raise for good causes throughout the area has been lost and may not be recoverable. 

It made me wonder about the crop this year and how the producers are weathering the pandemic, so I called my friend George LaCour down in Pointe Coupee Parish, Louisiana, to see how the crop was doing and what demand is like this year. 

George told me that there is a strong crawfish market this year because there isn't an over abundant supply. Some ponds did well, but others weren't so lucky. He said that there is a lot of pent up demand. 

That's good for the producers who have the good supply, not so good for those that didn't produce as well. 

There does seem to be some good resources in restaurants throughout the Midsouth. Seafood markets look to have a good supply for those who are willing to do a boil at home. 

I've found that a crawfish boil is not so hard to do if you have a big enough pot and have equipment that can sustain a rolling boil. I've certainly seen enough spice mixes in the grocery store to make a boil chef happy. 

That may be the thing we have to do in 2021. Wave or stop on by if you happen to see me out by the pond with a gas burner and a big pot. 

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