Local crawfish companies embrace spring business

Posted on Mar 23 2017 - 8:01am by Marlee Crawford and Ariel Cobbert

Spring in Oxford means the temperature rising, baseball games during the week and for many students, a pound or two of crawfish along with a cold beverage. Louisiana’s famous dish has made its annual trip back to Oxford.

Local business like The LandShark Crawfish Co., Move Your Tails, Cajun Crawfish Co. and Dixie Crawfish Co. sell crawfish not only to individuals but also to local bars like Funky’s on the Square.

Funky’s bartender Patrick O’Hern said the bar has sold boiled crawfish for at least seven years.

“It definitely helps the atmosphere,” he said. “It’s fun: beer, crawfish, daiquiris.”

Funky’s has bought around 150 pounds of crawfish from local crawfish truck Move Your Tails every weekend this semester since mid-January. The bar starts selling pounds of the dish at 1 p.m. on Saturdays.

Proud Larry’s owner Scott Caradine, of Lafayette, Louisiana, is all too familiar with the procedure of hailing live crawfish from the state and said it can be a tedious process. Suppliers must pull crawfish out of ponds and within a day, load them into a refrigerated truck and transport them to North Mississippi.

“We’re just [close] enough; trucks from Louisiana probably don’t go up further than Memphis with live crawfish,” Caradine said.

He said he loves the process of cooking crawfish and having people eating them around the bar, but he decided to stop selling them about 5 years ago.

“There’s not a whole lot of money in it,” Caradine said. “So many people on the Square started selling crawfish that it took the specialness out of it.”

Caradine said he used to boil and serve the crawfish himself at the bar in accordance with a hometown recipe, but it became too much of a hassle.

The LandShark Crawfish Co. is in the middle of its third year selling the mudbugs to Oxford businesses.

LandShark owner Jared Foster said his business surprisingly doubled its numbers this year.

“It’s the best season we’ve ever had,” he said. “I had a pretty challenging last year in the Oxford community and questioned reopening, but we are extremely prosperous, and the crawfish are great this year.”

Foster said he thanks God and the Oxford community every day for his business.

He said his driver meets the company’s South Louisiana provider halfway several times a week to pick up the crawfish in a refrigerated truck.

“They clean them when they get back, which is a huge process in itself,” he said. “You never know what you’re going to get in the bag; I’ve seen turtles.”

Foster partners with The Levee, the Round Table and Kings Grill House in Oxford to sell crawfish at their restaurants. This year, LandShark is not selling crawfish at the baseball games as it has in the past, but Foster said he is looking into possible opportunities.

He said Dixie Crawfish Co. and Cajun Crawfish Co. have been extremely helpful in the past year, even with being competitors.

“We just float around each other,” Foster said. “They get their customers, and I have mine.”

On April 6, Caradine said he will pull up his sleeves and cook a few pots for a spring concert at the band’s request. He said he uses a lot of lemon, salt, cayenne, crab oil, potatoes, corn, sausage and artichoke hearts when he cooks his crawfish.

“I love the process of cooking crawfish and people hanging out eating crawfish around the bar and music playing,” Caradine said. “There is a certain camaraderie that goes with eating crawfish. You sit around and drink beer and get your hands dirty, and your mouth gets hot.”