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First catch of crab season arrives at Sonoma County grocery stores

  • Yosief Asgedom, left, and Reuben Caballero grab cooked crab for customers at G&G Supermarket in Santa Rosa, on Friday, Nov. 16, 2012. ((Christopher Chung/ The Press Democrat))

Freshly caught Dungeness crab from Bodega Bay was back on sale in Sonoma County markets on Friday, and customers lined up to buy the succulent seafood.

“Our mouths are watering,” said Dawn Johnson-Huff of Windsor, who came down to the G&G Supermarket on College Avenue to buy two cooked crabs.

“Oh yeah,” said her husband, Tony, whom Dawn described as “the biggest crab eater in the family.”

North Coast fishermen and seafood processors reached an agreement on the price of crab at the dock — $3 a pound — clearing the way for the opening of the commercial crab season on Thursday.

G&G got its first shipment of crabs late Thursday afternoon, said Teejay Lowe, chief executive officer of G&G Supermarkets.

“Everybody was excited about it,” he said.

On Friday morning, a truck from the coast delivered 2,000 pounds of the orange-colored cooked crustaceans and 1,300 pounds of live Dungeness in their dark brown shells.

Oliver's Market on Stony Point Road got its first crab at noon Friday, much to the relief of Meat Department Manager Mitch DeArmon.

“People have been asking about them for weeks,” he said.

Price negotiations between fishermen and processors delayed the Dungeness arrival for two weeks last year, missing the Thanksgiving feasts that for some families feature turkey, crab and prime rib.

Pacific Market in Santa Rosa and Whole Foods Market at Coddingtown also welcomed crabs on Friday.

“It's a very hot topic in Sonoma County,” said Thomas Seitzer, assistant team leader for seafood.

Dungeness devotees jump at the chance to chow down on the first catch of the season. “They miss it. They really want it,” he said.

Dungeness crabs inhabit the west coast of North America, and are harvested in California typically from November to about February or March, when the catch dwindles and fishermen shift to salmon.

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