Crawfish Farms – Let the Mouth Waterin’ Begin

Crawfish Farms – Let the Mouth Waterin’ Begin

Let’s start at the beginning where some of the most satisfying Cajun dinners originate, on crawfish farms. I bet your mouth is watering right now thinking about the delicious meals you had on your trip to New Orleans. If you are looking for recipes to dish up some tasty Creole cooking for your family and friends to rave about, the search is over. We have cooked up a whole mess of info designed with you in mind.

Crawfish spiced just right served up with corn on the cob and sausage is some of the finest eating this side of the mighty Mississippi. Have you ever wondered to yourself or aloud, “I wonder where crawfish come from? Do people in Louisiana catch these locally or are they shipped here from somewhere else?” 

Crawfish aka crayfish or crawdads are raised on Louisiana crawfish farms.  Crayfish are freshwater crustaceans, a smaller version of its close relative, the lobster.

Their name is a mainly American word, which comes from the Old French language meaning to crawl. Our neighbors in the north use the term crayfish most commonly, crawdad is heard in more western and central regions, and southerners say crawfish.

Nearly 100% of the harvest in the United States comes from Louisiana crawfish farms. In fact, Louisiana manufactures ninety percent of the crayfish in the entire world.

In the 1750s, the Acadians fled to Louisiana from Canada and were taught by the Choctaw Indians who lived in the area to hunt and fish the native wildlife. Acadian cuisine, shortened to Cajun, was born of the resilient people who learned to survive on what they could hunt or grow in the bayous.

Commercial crawfish farms began in the late 1800s. There are two species farmed, the red swamp and the white river crayfish.

Both groups are well adapted to the wet/dry cycles of the region. Louisiana crayfish farms production developed in part due to the crawfishes natural adaptation to inconsistent water levels, just like the robust stock of Louisianas fine citizens. This hardy species makes breeding in farms an excellent enterprise for the changeable Gulf Coast.

With rainfall almost non-existent in the summer months, crayfish farms are made by flooding rice fields, giving the mudbugs as they are fondly called, a place to breed and grow. When springtime reappears, the cycle continues, with fields re-drained for planting.

Crawdads survive the drought by digging underground where the soil holds moisture, sometimes as deep as ten feet. The crawdad lives in shallow pools of water that form when they dig in for the dry season.

Aquaculture is a fancy way to say crayfish farms, in case you hear someone use the term.  When the crustaceans are not dug in for the summer, they spend their days in open water. During molting, they hide out from predators, which, gulp, includes other crawdads.

Crayfish is most popular boiled with plenty of rich Cajun seasonings. Other ingredients are thrown in one pot, including celery, onions, and green peppers. (I smell seafood Gumbo cooking!) This draws in a huge gathering of hungry people to share in the crawfish boil, New Orleans style!

Approximately 120,000 acres in Louisiana are dedicated to crawfish farms. All this talk about crawdads has made us hungry, let’s eat! It’s impossible not to smile when you are eating crayfish!

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