Seafood Species Definitions
(Cancer irroratus): WILD CAUGHT
“PEEKYTOE” CRABMEAT, a term coined over two decades ago by our founder and president, Rod Browne Mitchell, is one of the most coveted types of crabmeat on the market today – and remains one of our most popular and trademark items. The catchy fisherman’s slang name, which is sort of an abbreviated form of “picked toe” (pronounced “pick-et toe” in Down East Maine) or handpicked leg or toe meat, is not the sole reason for its popularity. Peekytoe Crabmeat is simply one of the sweetest, most versatile, and most consistent crabmeat options for your kitchen – fresh picked and tasting of the sea.
Interestingly, these crabs were once considered by lobstermen to be a nuisance, a bait-stealer that was more of a pest than a lucrative species for harvest. But demand soared after chefs and other epicures in New York were introduced to it by Rod Mitchell. Processing these crabs remains a true “cottage” industry in Maine, with very few commercial houses investing in the time-consuming traditional hand-picking method necessary to produce superior meats free of shell.
The meat itself is from rock crabs (also known as sand crabs), a species that is closely related to the Jonah crab, residing on the sea floor in shallow in-shore waters, estuaries and on open shores. The crabs used for our Peekytoe Crabmeat are strictly Maine crabs, generally harvested from Penebscott Bay where the first “Picked Toe” crab houses originated. They are fairly small – about 5 inches wide and 3 ½ inches long – and their fan-shaped bodies are distinguished by a yellow-orange body shell with reddish or purple spots, and a white, cream-colored belly.
Peekytoe Crabmeat comes cooked and ready to eat. Because of the meticulous handpicked (not water-blasted) manner in which the meat is processed, the meat is virtually free of shells. It is perfect for crab cakes, sushi rolls, crab salad, chowders, dips or any number of other presentations that call for crabmeat. Because it is already cooked, care should be given to hot recipes as overcooking can ruin its texture and flavor. Browne Trading Co.’s Maine Peekytoe Crabmeat is available in 8-ounce containers, and is sure to be fresh and delicious.
Catch Region: Gulf of Maine
Seasonality: Year Round
Catch Method: Traps and Pots
Preparation: Product is Fully Cooked and Ready to Eat
Flavor Profile: Sweet and Salty
Texture Profile: Delicate
- Jonah Crab
- Dungeness Crab
- Blue Crab
- Lobster Meat