When you’re out ordering dinner at a restaurant, do you stop to consider the source of your food? Whether it’s vegetables or prime rib or a crab cake, it’s not hard to imagine that “eating local’ can benefit the overall community. Did you know that Virginia commercial watermen annually harvest enough seafood to produce over one hundred twenty-three million meals? That’s according to Virginia Seafood’s Facts about the Virginia Seafood Industry 2017.

In that same fact report, Virginia Seafood mentions that Virginia is the nation’s “third largest producer of marine products with total landings of 343,964,288 pounds in 2017 and is only outpaced by Alaska and Louisiana,” which places us as (easily) the largest seafood production state on the East Coast!

And that begs the question, who’s bringing in all that seafood? To reference once again Virginia Seafood’s fact report, “Virginia is home to over 248 licensed seafood buyers in Virginia. Approximately 6,000 Virginians work on the water-2,866 licensed watermen, their mates and helpers.” And there are a lot of eyes on both the water and its harvest to make sure that everything is up to snuff for the sake of the environment and the consumer. The Commonwealth’s quality control and regulatory standards for water quality and processing plants are recognized as among the most stringent in the nation, which includes a number of regulatory agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration, the Department of Agriculture, the Virginia Department of Health, the Virginia Marine Resources Commission, the list goes on! (Virginia Seafood, Facts 2017)

You might be wondering, of all that seafood that Virginia is bringing in, how much of it is blue crab? According to a Landings and Value report, also courtesy of Virginia Seafood, in 2017 we brought in over thirty million pounds of blue crab, at a dockside value of over $38,000,000! As you “dine local” during Crab Cake Week (June 01 to 09), or any other time of the year, we hope you have a better understanding of your relationship with the Chesapeake Bay, as well as the thriving seafood economy of the Commonwealth.

Julep’s New Southern Cuisine proudly showing off their crab cake entree

And with so many options to eat sustainably sourced Chesapeake Bay blue crab during Richmond’s first annual Crab Cake Week, it shouldn’t be too difficult to dip your toes in the (local) water and eat Virginia seafood! It’s definitely a win-win: you get to enjoy amazing Virginia crab cakes from a local restaurant while directly benefiting your community, benefitting the Commonwealth’s economy, and proceeds will be going toward Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay to support our mission to lead, support, and inspire local action to restore and protect the lands, rivers, and streams of the Chesapeake Bay watershed!

Check out the list of participating restaurants below:

We’ll see you there, folks!