Restaurant week, Valentines Day, Fat Tuesday and Mardi Gras, it all seems to be descending upon us all at once. The brutal February cold that usually sends people clamoring for the covers or to the nearest travel agent in search of warmer climates, is taking a back seat to some festivities that will fire-start what looks to be a fun February.
Not that you needed reminding, but Mardi Gras is coming, and the Crayfish will be marching in, but just not yet. The word from the Bayou is that the season will creep in as the bugs become strong enough to ship and their shells harden. Expect product to be available the first or second week of February, just in time for a proper celebration. If you are thinking of making Crayfish an option at your party, be sure to pre-order. Demand will be at a high for the occasion.
While February events are heating up, unfortunately no one has told the weather to keep pace. Bad storms and wintry mix have delayed many species from reaching the market. We could see problems with Southern items such as Snapper and Grouper and West Coast items such as Sole and Rockfish. When putting together your menus during these months, even for restaurant week, be sure to leave wiggle room for change. When the weather turns your options into fruitless pursuits, look for substitutions from lesser hit areas, such as Striped Bass and Black Bass from the Southeast, or Icelandic Plaice, Fluke, and Dabs from Iceland and the Northeast. Being nimble with your options can help when you are trying to out maneuver Mother Nature.
This time of year we also see blips on the radar with some farmed species, such as Trout and Salmon. Harvesting cycles and weather can interrupt the supply chain for days and sometimes weeks. Many farms are improving their processes and we are seeing shorter delay periods and less interruptions, but it is not a perfect system just yet. Be sure to check with your sales reps for any foreseeable issues.
In better news, the Tuna Market has been very volatile recently, with prices fluctuating from very high to not so high, and good quality fish hard to find. There seems to be some relief on the horizon. The Full moon will take place on the 31st and there is typically a good landing after a full moon. We expect there to be fish out of Hawaii, South America, Vietnam, and the Maldives.
More good news, it looks like the Scallop harvest for 2018 will increase by up to 15%. The season kicks off in April and we could see increased landings as early as June. Shockingly, sizing is also projected to run larger, so the scarcity of larger sized scallops should not be an issue for this year. That’s great news for an industry that has seen some exorbitant pricing the last few years due to a lack of raw material.