JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Crabs and Algorithms; Here’s A Shopping List

I said the other day I was going to stick to writing about King Crab Legs. So here goes.

OK, Facebook, OK! I like King Crab Legs! You know that, just like you know a hundred other things about me. But did you have to tell every fish house in America? OK, so now I know, for sure, where I can buy King Crab Legs if I win the lottery.

Dear Readers, you may have read what I wrote about King Crab Legs last week. If not, just scroll down on this website. I put a link to the story on Facebook. Within hours, ads for businesses that sell King Crab Legs started showing up on MY Facebook page.

How the heck, I asked, did those companies find out I like King Crab Legs and might be a potential customer? I asked Mr. Google about that. He used the word algorithms. Yeah, I’ve heard that before, even though I am an English major. It’s likely those fish houses bought an ad on Facebook and they pay for it based on impressions, and Facebook uses algorithms to find likely suspects for their businesses. That really doesn’t surprise me at all, although I never really thought about it before.

I never really thought about it until a lot of ads started showing up on my Facebook page. A LOT!

OK, so as I wrote last week about b a sucker for a good marketing pitch. So I started clicking on them. I learned a lot about buying crab. Here, I’ll share some with you. About a dozen. So far.


 Wild Tide Seafoods is first because it had a taste of class. It says this on its website: “Your seafood gets a first-class seat with one of our airline partners so it can be delivered to you within 1 to 3 business days.” No kidding! First class! I wonder how the other first-class passengers feel about sharing a seat with a box of crab legs, or a “Sampler Box” of Sockeye Salmon, Ahi Tuna and Alaskan Codfish. Interestingly, like many of the other sites I visited, nowhere on this site does it say where Wild Tide Seafoods is located. It does say this: “Wild Tide Seafoods was founded by Chris Ruvane after 24 years as a commercial fisherman in Alaska.” It doesn’t say if the company is located in Alaska, but I’m trying to imagine forking out a couple of thousand dollars for a first-class seat from Anchorage to Chicago and sharing the seat with a rapidly thawing box of fish.

Wild Tide’s seafood is shipped in a box filled with dry ice. Frozen CO2. Hmmm. CO2. We’ve been reading a lot about that lately. People have been worrying about CO2 pipelines running through their farms and too close to their towns. No wonder. Here’s what Mr. Google says about dry ice:

“Dry ice can be a very serious hazard in a small space that isn’t well-ventilated. As dry ice melts, it turns into carbon dioxide gas. In a small space, this gas can build up. If enough carbon dioxide gas is present, a person can become unconscious, and in some cases, die …” Hmmm again. “A small space that isn’t well-ventilated.” Like a first-class seat on a jet? Oh, well, I guess for King Crab Legs, it’s OK to take a chance. Wild Tide will sell you a ten-pound box of Golden King Crab for $520. Pay attention so you can do some price comparing as you read on.


Speaking of long flights, the New York Steak and Seafood Co. says it will send you a 2½-pound box of Red King Crab Legs for $149, “shipped directly to us (Queens in New York City) from the icy cold waters of Alaska and shipped to you — somewhere else in America; West Coast customers might want to pass — in a reusable flash-frozen cooler.” Better be a good cooler. Especially in the summer. Unless it’s sitting in an air-conditioned first-class seat.


And speaking of New York, All Fresh Seafood is based in New York City, where “there is a wider variety of seafood that comes in than anywhere else in the world.” Retail store in Grand Central Terminal, so if you happen to be in the neighborhood … 1 pound $79.95. Uffda.


Equally competitive with Wild Tide is Premier Catch, where Joci and Ashley Besecker will send you a 2-pound package of Alaskan Red King Crab for $150, BUT … if you buy three, you get one free! So, 8 pounds for $450. Doesn’t say on their website where they live and work, but their 206 area code on their phone tells me it is Seattle. Pretty close to an ocean.


Don’t let the name Best Stone Crabs fool you. They have lots of King Crab Legs, too. Just $87 per pound. But the minimum order is 3 pounds, for $261. However, you get butter sauce with them and the legs come cooked and ready to eat. Didn’t say if you can get a discount if you agree to cook them yourself. Oh, and there’s this. Best Stone Crabs is located in the Florida Keys. I wonder where they get their King Crab Legs. Y’know, a lot of these places don’t put their location on their websites, Maybe this is one place that should follow that practice.


The Tanner Family will sell you a WHOLE CRAB, not just the legs, weighting between 5 and 6 pounds, for $299.

If you’re not quite up to that, you can get 3 pounds of King Crab Legs for $185.25. Their website even has a video for you to watch. It’s nice. Made me feel good. And this place is actually located in Alaska! Nimilchik, Alaska. Check it out.


 If you order from Get Prime Fish, you can get 4 pounds of crab meat only, no shells, for $295. So, crab meat for about $75 per pound. Y’know, those shells on the other guys’ crabs weigh a lot, so this might be a good deal. Or, if you’re having a Super Bowl party this weekend, you could get 20 pounds for $1,170. I’m trying to picture 20 pounds of crab meat lying on my counter. I’ll probably dream about that tonight.


Those might be the Limited Reserve Giant Red King Crab Legs.
Those might be the Limited Reserve Giant Red King Crab Legs.

Right now, there’s a sale on at Fishex. You can get Bering Sea Red Crab Legs for $32.99 a pound., marked down from the regular price of $59.95. This place has crabs in all sizes. You can get Jumbo King Crab Legs for $59.95 a pound. Or better yet, Limited Reserve Giant Red King Crab Legs for $129.95 a pound.

Even better than that, you can buy a whole Valentine’s Day banquet, which includes 2 pounds of Bering Sea Red King Crab Legs, a 3-ounce tub of White Truffle Crab Dipping Butter, a dozen Alaskan Crab & Seafood Cakes and two slices of White Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Cheesecake, all for just $114.95. Heck you’d spend that much at a restaurant for a nice Valentine’s dinner. Your dinner will be delivered overnight via FedEx from Alaska, delivered as soon as tomorrow, which they can do, the company says, because they’re located in Anchorage, near one of the largest FedEx hubs in the world!


Hungry for lobster instead of crab? Get Maine Lobster will send your four Maine Lobsters from Portland, Maine, for $154.99. “Arrives live, ready to prepare and guaranteed fresh. The colder the water, the sweeter the meat!” Got that? Arrives LIVE. Hmmm.


Here’s another choice for lobsters. The Lobster Guy, located in Rhode Island of all places, doesn’t sell crab, but will send you a pair of LIVE 2½-pound lobsters for $94.99. And the site says the company will ship to “limited locations” in Hawaii and Alaska. Wonder how LIVE those critters will be when they get there from Rhode Island.


Although Maine Lobster Now is located in southern Maine, the company sells crab and a lot of other things, too. The company advertises this on its website: “No time to travel to Alaska to buy your own crab legs? No problem. Now, we offer Alaskan king crab legs (notice: no capitals) shipped overnight and delivered right to your home. Our crabs are wild caught in the cold waters of Bristol Bay and Norton Sound.” OK, so I had to Google those two places to find out they are located in the Bering Sea off the west coast of Alaska. So, from Alaska to southern Maine, then overnight to your home. That’s a lot of travel. Not sure how important that “overnight shipping” is, but it sounds good. But the cool thing about this place is it offer lots of different sizes of legs. Jumbo: $68.99 a pound. Giant: $74.99. Colossal: $84.99. Super Colossal: $94.99. Discounts on 6- and 10-pound packages. Take a look.


Vital Choice Wild Seafoods is located in Medford, Ore., at 2500 S. Pacific Coast Highway, one of my favorite roads in the world. This place will sell you all kinds of organic fruits and vegetables, plus a 2-pound bag of King Crab Legs for $159.99. BONUS:  A 6.8-ounce bottle of Cod Liver Oil for $14.99. Really? Do people really still buy that stuff? What do they use it for?


 The Alaskan King Crab Co. will sell you 4 pounds of Large Golden King Crab Legs for $340. Or 4 pounds of Extra Large Red King Crab Legs for $356. Or 4 pounds of Extra Extra Large Red King Crab Legs for $396. “Shipped straight from the dock to your doorstep.” Next day delivery. Free overnight shipping on orders over $300. I couldn’t figure out where the company is located, but the website says, “Due to distance, orders shipping to Hawaii and ALASKA will have longer ship times and will incur an additional shipping fee.” Go figure. Shipping from Alaskan King Crab Co. to customers in Alaska costs extra. BUT … I saved this one for last because of something very, very special on the web: A recipe for Beer Batter Deep Fried Crab Legs! Really! Here’s the recipe. I swear, I’m going to do this as soon as I figure out where to buy my King Crab Legs. But instead of the company’s batter recipe, I’m going to use my favorite beer batter mix, Shore Lunch from the best fisherman ever, Gary Roach. I usually reserve this for walleye or perch. I WILL dream about this tonight. As my arteries slowly clog.

Well, there’s a baker’s dozen places to buy crabs and lobsters. The ads are still coming. I guess there’s no way to shut off those algorithms. You can print this list and tape it to your refrigerator door so it’s handy next time you want King Crab Legs. Let me know how they were.

Meanwhile, I’ll just head on out to the ice and see if I can find some perch and walleyes to use up my beer batter.


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