The neighborhood has changed around the Southwest waterfront's Fish Market. So has the parking situation. But the fundamentals of picking blue crabs remain the same. Here's a guide.
WASHINGTON — Market prices for blue crabs can fluctuate with the calendar and as trucks bring them to the D.C. Fish Market in Southwest. But generally speaking, you’ll pay between $105 and $225 a bushel.
At Jessie Taylor’s Seafood mid-day on Friday, a bushel of mediums was going for $105, large males were priced at $175, and a bushel of extra-large crabs cost $225.
Deciding which size to buy depends on how much work you want to do
“Put [the different bushels] on a scale and they’re weighing out the same. It’s just less picking on the bigger crabs,” said Clarence Goodman of Jessie Taylor’s Seafood. About five dozen crabs are in a bushel of extra-large crabs. A bushel of large males, Goodman said, is about six or seven dozen.
Why you want crabs with dark, dirty-looking bellies
“The darker the shell, the better — the more meat. They’ve been out there a long time,” Goodman advised.
Crabs that are very white on the bottom have molted recently, and the meat inside has yet to grow to begin to fill the shell. “It’s soft [-shell] crab season right now. They’re the ones that didn’t get caught in time,” Goodman said.
What’s different this season
People familiar with the Southwest waterfront Fish Market wouldn’t recognize it from the vantage point of Maine Avenue. Construction — part of The Wharf development — blocks the view from the street, and there’s no more parking in the immediate vicinity of the floating barges that hold the various seafood vendors.