"A Cornelius Crawfish harvest" By Nicole Pilson Coastal & Marine Resources Texas A&M AgriLife Matagorda County

   If you have wondered about how the crawfish you buy end up in the sacks and into your boil, well wonder no more! 
   I recently had the pleasure to join Herff Cornelius, of Cornelius Crawfish, on a crawfish harvest and I learned so much about the inner workings of a crawfish farm and how they work hard to keep the southern tradition alive. 
   First of all, a big “thank you” to Herff and his crew for letting me tag along. 
   I showed up to the farm and Herff opened the gate and I followed him to a shed. 
   There were pallets of bags filled with bait for the traps. The bait pellets are pretty big and get dropped into each crawfish trap. 
   In the shed, there was a conveyor belt with water sprayers. The crawfish take a ride on the belt (dead ones getting tossed) and get a shower to clean them off before going into a sack. 
   We rode out to the ponds where ducks and other water fowl were stirred up from the water and fluttered around until they realized we were no threat to them. 
   Herff said the birds aren’t really their biggest problems in terms of eating product… their biggest predators were raccoons. 
   Many mornings they would go out there to find upturned traps and little handprints on the banks of the ponds. 
   They don’t do much in terms of trying to deter the raccoons because the little thieves really aren’t doing too much damage in the way of equipment or product loss. 
   A boat then pulled up to the edge of the pond and Herff and I climbed aboard.  
   We went down the rows of traps and Herff skillfully pulled the traps as we floated by and dumped the mudbugs into a tray with racks that sorted out the tiny crawfish back into the water and the larger ones into a tub. 
   The trap was then passed off to the boat driver who would drop a bait pellet into the trap and then set the trap on the pole again. 
   I learned that the varying colors of crawfish (anywhere from a pale red to black) meant they were in some stage of the molting process (where the crawfish sheds its exoskeleton and grows a better-fitting one). 
   Some crawfish farms build their sacks based on weight, often meaning a lot of grass and less-desirable items (there’s a story about a snake ending up in a sack!) make their way into the sacks to make weight. 
   Herff and his crew build their sacks purely on crawfish weight, which is why they take the extra step to sort them on the boat and then clean them back on land before sacking; as opposed to going straight from the water into a sack.
   The time and care put into each sack of Cornelius Crawfish is easily noticed when you open it up for your boil and the crawfish are clean and lively! 
   The season is still going, so make sure you put in your orders (979-245-4390) and if you are planning on an especially large order, call about a week ahead of when you need them! 
   Enjoy the remainder of the season while you still can! 

Rate this article: 
No votes yet