Ever wonder why crawfish tail meat is expensive? In a word… labor. Crawfish peeling is not the most desirable job. Sam Irwin, author of Louisiana Crawfish: A Succulent History of the Cajun Crustacean, explains why the tiny town of Henderson in St. Martin Parish became the leader in crawfish tailmeat production in the 1950-60s.
“Another important factor as to why the tiny community of Henderson became the first major player in the crawfish industry was labor. The migration from the interior of the Atchafalaya River swamp created the labor force necessary for the tedious job of crawfish peeling. The wives and children of the commercial fishermen peeled crawfish by the pound and earned cash money.
But crawfish also created a labor market and employable women from the nearby rural communities of Nina, Grand Anse, Cecilia, Arnaudville and Breaux Bridge could earn cash money. African American women also peeled crawfish alongside their white counterparts and contributed to the crawfish economy. ”
Labor is still a major issue for Louisiana crawfish tailmeat producers today. Daily Advertiser reporter Ken Stickney filed Guest worker issue complicates crawfish production. Quite simply, the Louisiana crawfish industry is being held hostage by the national debate over guest workers and immigration. Learn more about the Louisiana crawfish industry in Louisiana Crawfish: The Book! #41 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Cookbooks, Food & Wine > Regional & International > U.S. Regional > Cajun & Creole.
Thomas Hymel of the LSU AgCenter Sea Grant Marine Extension may have said it best: “This is our heritage — crawfish in Louisiana. If you want to eat Louisiana-grown crawfish, if you want to eat authentic etouffee or stew, the meat comes from a Louisiana plant.”
Crawfish Report agrees…