A True Alaskan Delicacy

In Alaska, Tanner crab – or Bairdi snow crab, as the industry calls it – is a one-of-kind shellfish that’s simple yet distinctive, with delicately sweet, snow-white flesh that explains its tremendous value and widespread popularity.  The trademark big bright orange clusters guarantee a memorable presentation. It is much larger and packs a much sweeter, richer flavor than its cousin, the Opilio snow crab. Many Alaska fisherman believe Bairdi crab is the best-tasting of all the Alaskan crab species.

The Bairdi crab has always been harvested from the same areas in the Bering Sea off Alaska. It is targeted along with Opilio snow crab using traps and pots. The crab is then identified and separated as Opilio and Bairdi. One quick way to determine difference is its eye color. Bairdi crab has red eyes and Opilio has green eyes.

For years Bairdi was not marketed in the U.S. because of low quotas and competition with the Opilio snow crab. Thanks to careful management practices, increased awareness and new quotas, customers can now find Hy-Vee Responsible Choice Bairdi snow crab plentiful and featured in their local Hy-Vee stores.

Author: John Rohrs

I’m John Rohrs, seafood purchasing manager at Perishable Distributors of Iowa, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hy-Vee established in 1982 to provide a central distribution system for perishable products to Iowa stores. In my job, I work with stores to help create more sales and educate employees on seafood. Through Hy-Vee’s Responsible Choice initiative I’ve enjoyed meeting and communicating with vendors and creating the friendships that make our partnerships work.