Florida Sea Grant Extension in Collier County

Welcome to the Collier County Sea Grant Extension Blog

This blog is an opportunity for me to share with you my extension outreach efforts and useful information to make you a more informed coastal citizen. If you have any questions about what you see, feel free to contact me at fluech@ufl.edu.

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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Are You Smarter than a Stone Crab?

Did you know....
There are 2 species of stone crabs in Florida? It's legal to remove both claws from a stone crab if they meet the minimal size limit (2-3/4 inches)? Stone crab season is Oct 15th-May 15th? If you answered yes to any of these questions, than you can certainly say you ARE smarter than a stone crab!!
Today I held my first "Are You Smarter than a Stone Crab?" tour, and by all accounts, I'd say it was a success! We had 33 people in attendance. First I gave a presentation on stone crab biology and ecology as well as an overview of the stone crab fishery. Next the group sampled some fresh locally caught stone crab claws, which they seemed to enjoy! (I know of at least 2 people that had claws for the first time.)  The group also sampled some blue crab claws as well so they could compare the difference.
Following the presentation and sampling, we visited Grimm's Stone Crabs Inc, a local stone crab processor in Everglades City. Justin Grimms, the son of owner Howie Grimms, showed the group how stone crab claws are cooked and processed at their facility. He also discussed what it was like to work in the stone crab industry. Justin was extremely knowledgeable and did a FANTASTIC job! I can't thank him or Howie enough for letting our group visit their facility and talk to us about their line of work. He must of made an impression as several people bought claws from their market!
This was the first time I did this program, and based on the feedback I've already received, I plan to do it again in the future. Its a great opportunity for citizens to learn about their local fisheries and meet with people working in the industry.

Going back for seconds!

Sampling locally caught stone crab claws

Nothing beats fresh seafood!

Justin Grimms discussing what its like to be in the stone crab business

Justin Grimms demonstrating how claws are cooked.

Justin explains the importance of monitoring temperature when the claws are cooked.

After cooking the claws, Justin discusses how claws are graded based on weight.

Justin showing some of the tools they use to crack claws.

Justin discusses with the group how each claw is weighed.

Justin shows a few participants the differences between medium, large, and jumbo claws.

After  claws are cooked they are quickly cooled down to prevent the meat from sticking inside of the shell.

Some of the participants checking out fresh batch of claws right off the boat.

Showing off a nice sized claw!

Several of the participants bought claws from the Grimm's market. We kept Justin very busy.
Here his is very quickly cracking claws.

Gotta love endorsements like this!

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