JEFF DAVIS PARISH, LA (KPLC) - Crawfish season has just begun, which means plates across Southwest Louisiana will be filled with the popular shellfish.
The peak harvest season for crawfish is typically March through May, although farmers have been busy since the start of the year.
Burt Tietje is a crawfish farmer in Jeff Davis Parish, and says now is the perfect time to start eating them.
"They've grown, they've been eating, we've gotten some sunshine out in the pond, and the biology has picked up," Tietje said. "Everything is growing well, and the crawfish have exploded in the last two weeks. The size is bigger, the volume is bigger. It's time to go out and eat crawfish."
Although crawfish has been a staple of Louisiana tradition for many years, not everyone knows what the process is to get them onto your plate.
"It's real easy, crawfishing, there's really nothing to this," Tietje said. "You simply drive the boat up and down the lines of traps, you pick up each trap, you dump it in the sorting board. When the sorting board gets full you stuff them in the sacks. When the sacks get full, you tie them up, throw them on the front of the boat, get another sack, put in on, keep going."
While he makes it seem simple, he also says that process gets repeated thousands of times.
"The problem is, as I said there's about 800 traps in this pond, and I got another pond on the other side of the farm with another 800 traps, so you're picking up 1,600 traps a day. We'll harvest about 120 times during the year, so you do the math, and we're talking about picking up about 190,000 traps during the course of a season."
For those more interested in the process, Tietje offers crawfish farm tours at Tallgrass Farm where visitors will learn the whole progression from catching to distribution.