In the latest episode of Bottom Line, Business Report traveled to one of the sources of Louisiana’s beloved crawfish: Four Oaks Farms in Morganza. The farm sits on over 1,500 acres of land. There, they harvest sugarcane, soybeans and crawfish.
Co-Owner Matt Frey starts selling his yield a little later in the year than most crawfish farms, and times harvesting with the rice growing season.
This year, Frey says that there’s a delay in the crawfish emerging.
“This drought that we just came out of in ’23 is going to affect our crawfish. Because of the drought, we went 90 days with very little rain, if any, here,” Frey says. “So, our water table was very low this year. The crawfish had to go further in the ground to stay with that water table.”
The result: Higher prices that are being felt by both consumers and restaurants. Glynn Jarreau and his son, who own Baton Rouge restaurant Jarreau’s, are considering not holding a boil at all because of the prices.
“They are $14 a pound, about. We make crawfish etouffee, crawfish poboys and we do seafood pasta,” Jarreau says.
The prices of Jarreau’s dishes containing crawfish vary throughout the year. Right now, the restaurant primarily sources its crawfish from TLC Seafood, but is in talks with Frey about buying from him next year.
Frey says he’s seen prices get high before, and that they won’t stay that way for long.
“Everybody’s thinking that people are going to pay that, they’re not going to pay that. Right now, they are in short supply and everyone’s fighting over that. That’s not going to last, the minute that they get more crawfish, it’s going to balance out,” Frey says.