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Stone Crab Season In Sarasota

Every year, when October 15th rolls around, Floridians get their crab crackers ready. It’s the harvest—and not the kind in the garden. No, this one’s water based, yielding up the Sunshine State’s most scrumptious crustacean, the stone crab.

For eight months, crabbers haul up pounds and pounds of glorious stone crab, which they then deliver fresh to fish markets and supermarkets alike. Florida provides 99% of the country’s stone crabs, with the Keys supplying 65% of that alone. This delicious delicacy prefers the waters and bays of the Gulf of Mexico, where it skitters around in coastal areas and estuaries before being pulled to the surface in giant traps. When they arrive on deck, stone crabs are harvested only for one claw each. They are then thrown back to the water, alive, where they’ll eventually regenerate their lost claw. Which makes them a remarkably sustainable food source.

What does a stone crab taste like? Sweet like lobster, but with even more depth and richness. Crabbers will cook them right on the boat before delivering them straight to market, or the market itself will steam them. They’re kept chilled until bought or served, either cracked or uncracked. Eaten cold, this plump, juicy delicacy is served with drawn butter or mustard sauce.

A host of stone crab festivals and weekends crop up each fall around the state, but you can enjoy the delectable crustacean at a number of spots around town. Find our crib sheet for crabs below. Happy cracking!

Dry Dock Waterfront Grill, Longboat Key

Crab & Fin Restaurant, St. Armands Circle

Columbia Restaurant, St. Armands Circle

Siesta Key Oyster Bar, Siesta Key

Star Fish Co., Cortez

Captain Brian’s Seafood Market, Sarasota

Owen’s Fish Camp, Sarasota

Walt’s Fish Market Restaurant & Tiki Bar, Sarasota