Monday, December 14, 2009
I woke early this morning. There were boats on the Ocean, working all night, their bright lights visible for miles. From our bedroom, they look like spotlights on a crime scene at night.
Our port is busy day and night, especially during crab season. Though Pacific storms will be blustering for weeks keeping small boats in the harbor, they will not keep local fishermen from dropping their crab traps at the beginning of December when crab season begins.
Day and night, boats will drop and retrieve traps, check their catch, move a few miles up and down the coast to find fertile territory, and collect enough cargo of this delicacy to provide every supermarket and restaurant with fresh catch for weeks.
Dungeness Crab is my favorite crab. I've eaten Blue Crab and Alaska King Crab. Nothing tastes better than freshly prepared Dungeness, boiled in salted water for twenty minutes with a few spices, and served on newsprint paper, to catch the liquid that will squirt when we pound and claw the meat out. On the side, there will be hot butter to dip the morsels in, and Fat Tire Beer to keep us going in this tormentous task of cracking, picking, slowly separating cartilage and bone from the soft and tender meat. I've served individual whole crabs with sides of potato salad, corn, and a green salad at our Christmas Eve Meal that can last for hours, depending on how dexterous we are.
Our fishermen deliver fresh catch to Pacific Fisheries, which purchase the live catch, and ship it all over the nation.
When you purchase your crab you will be tasting food that was dangerous to catch.
The price fishermen will receive for live crab this year: $1.75 a pound. The price supermarkets are charging for the same: $4-7 a pound.
When you sit down for your Christmas meal of fresh crab, remember that earning a living on the high seas is dangerous all the time, especially at this time.
Winter storms can snuff out a life in a second.