Lifestyle

Southeast Texas Crawfish Farm Season in Full Swing

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Situated in Hamshire, Texas, between Winnie and Beaumont, is the Southeast Texas Crawfish Farm. For a little over 25 years, John Gaulding has been raising these freshwater crustaceans in his rice fields, giving many a Texan a good opportunity to have a boil, visit with friends and family, and enjoy a good meal.

In 1990, John and his son Alan added crawfish farming to their resume, and their family business has been going steady ever since. If you’ve ever wondered how these mudbugs get from farm to table, they’ll show you the ropes. And their product is often in such high demand, they can hardly keep up. With their family’s flooded rice fields along I-10 East as the perfect breeding ground for the crustaceans, John noted in an interview with a local ABC affiliate in 2014, “We’ve got more orders than we anticipate having crawfish for.”

Their standard routine for morning harvest includes a trip in a flat-bottomed boat across the flooded rice fields. Between rows of 400-500 traps, a harvest includes pulling up a trap, dumping the crawdads in a bucket, re-baiting the trap, and placing it back in the water. “It’s a lot of work. You get cuts on your hand from the bait. Occasionally you’ll pull up a snake in the trap,” Alan told ABC. And like any other type of farming, the Gauldings face issues that can affect their bottom line. Predators such as otters, raccoons, and birds can do a considerable amount of damage to traps. On an average day, the Gauldings will trap approximately 250 pounds of crawfish. Following that, they purge the catches in circulating well water to clean them, and after approximately two hours of soaking, they’re sorted, bagged in 30-lb. sacks, and sold retail as opposed to wholesale (because fresh is best!) Their season will generally run from March to June and can be lucrative, but a lot of hard work. In an average year, the Southeast Texas Crawfish Farm will harvest approximately 40,000 pounds of these red beauties, which makes for a lot of great boils and a whole lot of good times with family and friends!

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