Friday, November 30, 2012

Barnacle babies

Live near saltwater? Try your hand at some barnacle pots.

Locate glazed or unglazed pottery at yard sales, thrift shops, or a discount store. Hang them off a dock using stainless-steel wire. Let them hang in the saltwater for a couple of months while the barnacles attach and grow. Then pull up the pots, scare all the little crabs away, and immerse the pots in a 5-gallon plastic bucket with granular chlorine for several days. Afterward, carefully remove the pots and use a soft brush and cold water to clean off the mud and loose pieces of shell.

After they air-dry, they’re ready for display indoors. Once indoors, keep the pots in a safe, dry place, as the barnacles are fragile. Dust with a soft cloth.

Friday, July 13, 2012

A Q&A with musician Robbin Thompson

Robbin Thompson and Blue Crab Bay Co. President Pam Barefoot were regulars in Richmond, Va.'s Fan District scene of the early '70s and reconnected on Facebook a few years ago.
Our company president, Pam Barefoot, asked,
and Robbin Thompson said yes!

On Saturday, July 28, Robbin of “Sweet Virginia Breeze” fame will return to Onancock, Va., after a sold-out performance last year at Historic Cokesbury Church. This time, the mesmerizing musician, who has shared the stage with Bob Dylan, Bonnie Raitt, Bruce Hornsby, and longtime friend Bruce Springsteen, will play Onancock’s Roseland Theatre, the first live performance there in nearly 50 years.

The concert, hosted by Blue Crab Bay Co.'s Relay for Life team, the Blue Crabbers, will begin at 8 p.m. Doors will open at 7:15 p.m. Tickets are $20, and proceeds will benefit the American Cancer Society's Relay. For more information, call 1-800-221-2722.

 A few questions Robbin took the time to answer for us:

When you first became a performer, who was or were your musical inspiration(s)? I would have to say that Ricky Nelson and Dion were big inspirations to me at first, but the Beatles, the Beach Boys and a lot of British Invasion groups were as well. I think the die was cast when one of my first bands in Florida got to open for the Beau Brummels. They needed a place to practice so they practiced at our house!! The lead singer, Sal (Valentino) and guitarist Ron Elliott took me aside and said I should keep singin' and writing. You really never stop being inspired by someone out there.

We know you’ve toured Europe quite a bit. What has been your favorite place and why? That's a tough question because there are many, but if I had to choose, it would be Murten, Switzerland, just because I have made friends there and like the venue so much.

How have your musical tastes changed through the years? They really haven't changed all that much. I always seem to be drawn to the lyric and the melody. What changes is your age. As you get older you tend to listen harder, and you get more knowledgeable - hopefully. I have a tough time with putting my arms around popular music these days, but I know it's because of my age.

Who was the most surprising performer with whom you’ve played and why? Saying Bruce Springsteen or Timothy B. Schmit would be easy answers, but to tell you the truth they weren't all that surprising. They were and still are just freakin' great artists that are nice guys. I would have to say Steve Cropper. Steve played on my first album, and I was in awe of him. Days after the session, he called me up and asked if it would be OK if he came back to re-do his lead on a couple of songs because he'd been thinkin' about them and thought he could do better. That was surprising. I'd have to say that it's amazing to me how totally normal and gracious people are in this business. The surprises are the ones that you think would be and aren't.

Which up-and-coming artist(s) would you like one day to say, “Robbin Thompson really influenced my music”? I'd have to say "anyone" to that.

What inspired you to perform at the Roseland? The sign on the building. I think it's right out of ... a movie? I've never really been in it, but the first time I sailed to Onancock, I took a photo of that sign.

Because this event benefits Relay for Life, tell us about anyone particularly close to you who has dealt with cancer or is dealing with it now. That would have to be me. I've been living with cancer for more than 11 years.

If you could leave one piece of advice in a time capsule, what would it be? Don't waste your life doing something you don't enjoy.

The Eastern Shore of Virginia is ready for your return, Robbin, and Pam wants another photo like last summer's!

Pam and Robbin in Onancock last July

Friday, July 6, 2012

From trade show to Roman mythology

From left to right: Pam Barefoot, Paul DiPasquale, and Linda Gayle in 1986

An old friend - and we mean old in the best possible way - visited Blue Crab Bay Co. recently. Artist Paul DiPasquale debuted his "peeking" ducks with Blue Crab Bay Co. at the company's first trade show in 1986 in Washington, D.C. (see picture above). Paul has thought bigger in recent years, though. He is the designer of the King Neptune statue that rules at 31st Street in Virginia Beach at the gateway to Neptune Park and the threshold of the sea. The bronze piece stands 34 feet high, 12 feet across, and weighs 12.5 tons. The statue of the Roman god of the sea was dedicated in September 2005. It was paid for entirely from private contributions.

Surrounded by sea creatures, King Neptune reigns over Virginia Beach.
Paul also designed the statue of tennis legend Arthur Ashe on Richmond's Monument Avenue. Paul lives in Richmond with his wife, Kelly Kennedy. They recently came to the Eastern Shore of Virginia to spend the Fourth of July with our president, Pam Barefoot, and her husband, Jim Green. While they were here, Pam brought them to work for a tour (see the couple below in front of our retail shop). They reminisced about pictures and articles that adorn our walls at the office.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The toad prince

Before: This swelling toad is in defense mode fresh off the boat.

Inquiring minds want to know: Would you eat this guy? Well, we can tell you one thing: We folks on the Eastern Shore sure would and do! For those of you who don't know already, this is a swelling toad, or northern puffer. Swelling toads are club-shaped fish that puff up into a ball in self-defense. They visit the deep flats of the middle and lower Chesapeake Bay from spring through fall. They use their strong, beaklike mouths to crush the shells of small mollusks, crustaceans, and other invertebrates. Eastern Shore cooks fry them up into tasty treats, like those seen below.

After: Fried swelling toad is something you don't want to miss.

In fact, a popular local restaurant, Big's Place in Painter, Va., about 10 minutes south of Blue Crab Bay Co., recently garnered a mention in Parade magazine, which referred to the dining establishment's swelling toads as "sweet little panfish fried in butter." Who could say no to that? An interesting aside: Kelley Gaskill of Big's Place is a friend and former employee of Blue Crab Bay Co.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Mom's the word

Capital Cooking with Lauren DeSantis has included our Blue Crab Stoneware in its Mother's Day Gift Guide. Depending on where your delivery location is, you might still have time to place an order for the special day. If not, don't hesitate to shop for Mom (or for yourself) just because ...

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Devilishly good

We all have special food memories. Our company president, Pam Barefoot, shared this one: "In the late 1950s and early 1960s, my mother would take me on our annual trip to North Carolina's capital city, Raleigh, to shop for school clothes. A highlight of our trip was a visit to the long lunch counter at Woolworth's department store, where we would order deviled crabs. And those deviled crabs were heavenly, not devilish! I never could figure out why they called them 'deviled.' This was my only experience with crabs as a child, as we lived in the heart of sweet potato, hog, and tobacco country."

Try this recipe out at home:

Chesapeake Deviled Crab

2 tbsp. yellow onion, minced
2 tbsp. bell pepper, minced
2 tbsp. celery, minced
2 tbsp. butter, melted
2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
¾ cup milk
1 egg, beaten
1 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
Dash of hot sauce
1 tbsp. dry sherry (if desired)
1 tbsp. parsley, chopped
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. black pepper
½ cup fine breadcrumbs (divide in half)
1 lb. fresh crabmeat or 2 tins crabmeat
6 to 8 clean crab shells or ramekins, lightly greased

Sautè onion, pepper, and celery in butter until tender. Blend in flour and gradually add milk, stirring constantly until thick. Remove from heat. In a mixing bowl, beat an egg and add lemon juice, mustard, sauces, sherry, and all seasonings except Chesapeake Bay Seasoning or paprika. Add cream sauce to the egg mixture. Blend in crabmeat and half of the fine breadcrumbs. Place mixture in well-greased crab shells or ramekins. Over low heat, lightly butter the remaining breadcrumbs. Put the buttered bread crumbs over the top of each shell and sprinkle with Chesapeake Bay Seasoning or paprika. Bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Makes about six servings. Enjoy!

Monday, April 23, 2012

A soft spot for soft shells

Our friend Judy Brunk harvests soft crabs.

A soft-shell crab is a culinary term for a crab that recently has molted its old exoskeleton and is still soft. Around here, we love to get our hands on these! And now is the season.

Once you're in the kitchen, prepping these treats for cooking is a breeze. Just take some kitchen shears and cut off the crab's face, slicing about a quarter-inch behind the eyes. Pull up the soft upper shell, leaving it attached, and remove the spongy gills underneath.

Now, you're ready to fry. There are numerous variations. Some people like a simple dusting of flour and frying in butter. This is one we like: Try dusting the crabs with flour, running them in a milk and egg wash, then follow with a seafood breading with some of our Herbs for Seafood or Chesapeake Bay Seasoning mixed in. Fry up until golden brown. Experiment, and have fun doing it! The flavor is wonderful! See below for some dinner ideas.

A home chef popped one of these fried delicacies into a tortilla for a tasty wrap.

The cook on this one took the panko crumb route.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Surf's up!

Our Surf Doggies™ Gourmet Virginia Peanuts with Spicy Honey Mustard Seasoning is a 2012 sofi™ finalist for Outstanding Snack Food by the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade, Inc.! You should have heard the "howls" and "woofs" around the facility when we paged about the notification. Our own little "Doggie" chorus! Please share in our excitement and try them for yourselves. Visit to shop all of our snacks.

Monday, April 16, 2012

We're pumped!

A new wholesale customer, Grayslake Shell at Rt. 83 and Center Street in Grayslake, Ill., has our company information running on the screens of the pumps at his gas station. Head over for a fill-up and pick up some nuts! While you're there, thank our new Steve Dahl friend, Tim Tahaney, for ordering. Check out the pump video!

Monday, April 9, 2012

A pearl of a pea crab

Ever eaten a pea crab? Recently, at an oyster roast fundraiser for the Eastern Shore of Virginia's YMCA Camp Silver Beach, some diners had quite a treat! Our president, Pam Barefoot, told the kids they were like crab M&Ms. A pea crab lives in oysters, clams, mussels and other species of bivalves for protection. The crab feeds on any grit present, thus keeping the bivalve clean and healthy. Females have a soft carapace, or outer shell, are pinkish white, and stretch only as much as 2 centimeters across. An irregular stripe runs from front to back. These delicate crabs especially live in oysters from the Chesapeake Bay region, where some refer to them as Washington crabs because George Washington favored them for use in his chowder. Males, seldom seen, are smaller, dark brown, and usually free-swimming.

And speaking of the oyster roast fundraiser, we hope it raised big bucks for such a great camp! The facility offers an amazing experience for young people - check it out on Facebook at YMCA Camp Silver Beach or online at - you won't believe all it has to share!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Reopening Williamsburg Pottery features Blue Crab Stoneware

Our friends at the Williamsburg Pottery will host a grand reopening on Thursday, April 5, with 100,000 items in more than a half-mile of new buildings. Check out our Blue Crab Stoneware when you visit!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The fear factor fades

From our president, Pam Barefoot:

Last fall, I was honored to receive the Tayloe Murphy Resilience Award from the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. I won my choice of a week’s worth of executive education at the Darden School. My accountant recommended that I sign up for Strategic Sales Management.

Keep in mind that a week’s worth of executive education costs in the nine grand range. My small business never could have afforded to pay for such a benefit. However, large corporations frequently offer these courses to their staff as part of employee development programs. I anticipated a class filled with folks much more experienced than I am. In fact, I feared going … how would I ever fit in? (We co-workers can vouch for this – Pam sounded nervous in her first e-mails and calls to us back home!)

Last week on arrival at the Darden Inn in Charlottesville, I met my classmates: 10 men and one woman. Most were from the East Coast; one was from Brazil, and one was from Saudi Arabia. We were a diverse group with businesses ranging from General Mills and T. Rowe Price to cloud computing. Of course, I was the only one with silver hair. And, at age 61, I was older than most of the professors!

Classes started promptly at 8 a.m. We were highly discouraged from touching our cell phones or Blackberries. We shared breakfast, breaks, lunch, cocktails, and dinner together for five days. We were totally immersed in education, and after dinner we met with our teams to discuss the following day’s case studies. There was absolutely no personal time: Whenever you turned around, there was another 24-page case study to read. We studied the sales strategies of businesses such as Edward Jones and Red Bull.

The first afternoon, we discussed each participant’s burning issues. I confessed that I had won the course and that I was a very small business owner challenged with managing all aspects of my company, not just sales. I was warmly received. My female counterpart told me I was her new hero. I began to fit in. As the week went on, my fellow students grew more and more appreciative of my participation and viewpoint in class. They said my contributions to our discussions made the program so much more meaningful. One of my professors said that my presence really added to the class. I got over my earlier apprehensions fairly quickly. (We second that – by midweek, Pam was into it!)

As I mentioned before, one of our case studies was the Edwards Jones' model of business, which sells “trust.” A member of my class said that after learning about my business, he could say that Blue Crab Bay Co. sells “pride” ... pride in the Eastern Shore and our region.

Two lessons I brought back with me to work are the need to develop a strategic sales plan and a structured sales pipeline. Before this class, I didn't even know what a pipeline was!

These are now two of my challenges. And now I have a help line: All of my fellow classmates as well as my professors offered assistance when I need it.

I also hooked them on Blue Crab Bay products. Each afternoon I brought out two tins of our coastal snacks. I hope I created some new customers. And the food and beverage director at the Darden School seems highly interested in cooking with our bloody mary mixer!

The bottom line is no matter what your age, there’s no need to think you can’t learn something new. I’d love to take the marketing class at Darden … maybe that goal will inspire me to increase sales so we can afford it!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

What a Dahl!

Listen to Blue Crab Bay Co.'s owner, Pam Barefoot, on "The Steve Dahl Show." Steve Dahl is a broadcasting legend, a podcasting pioneer, and a huge fan of our products, especially our nut snacks. Check out the audio clip at to the Steve Dahl Podcast Network at We promise you will love Steve and his network as much as you love Blue Crab Bay!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Get in the spring spirit

We couldn't help but encourage you to revel in the beautiful spring images on the home page of Home is Where the Boat Is at - they certainly made coming back to work on the day after the time change a little brighter! While you're visiting the blog, be sure to check out a "post from the past" that includes information on our founder and company when they were featured in an irresistibly lovely coffee table book called "Women and the Sea" by Claire Murray:

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Go nuts in the kitchen!

Celebrate National Peanut Month with us by trying this terrific recipe at home!

Guinness® Stout Pork BBQ with Blue Crab Bay Co.® Sea Salt Nuts®

1 tbsp. olive oil
1 lb. pork roast
Salt and pepper
20 oz. Guinness® Stout
½ c. brown sugar
½ c. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tsp. garlic powder

BBQ sauce:
All cooking liquid and juices from the pork
½ c. ketchup

4 tbsp. Blue Crab Bay Co.® Sea Salt Nuts®, roughly chopped

Heat the oil in a heavy skillet on high. Season the pork with salt and pepper, and sear the outer edges for about a minute on each side. Mix remaining five ingredients in bottom of a slow cooker. Add the pork, turn on low, and let cook 6 to 8 hours. Remove pork, and let it rest for about 10 minutes. Using a fork, shred the pork and set aside.

To prepare sauce: Move cooking liquid from the slow cooker into a heavy sauce pot.  Heat on high, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, whisk in the ketchup, and reduce by half, or to desired consistency. Remove from heat and chill. Sauce will last 7 to 10 days in the refrigerator.

Top the bottom half of a Kaiser or your favorite roll with BBQ, add sauce, then sprinkle about 1 tablespoon of chopped Sea Salt Nuts® on top for crunch. Add the rest of the roll, and go for it!    

Award-winning* recipe created by Johnny Mo the musical chef
Mallards at the Wharf
Onancock, VA
*Best Dish & People’s Choice Award, 2010 Taste of Hampton Roads

Monday, February 20, 2012

Lesson lived

Blogger Juliet Bruce, Ph.D., a writer, creatively oriented counselor, and story coach, has paid Blue Crab Bay Co. the ultimate compliment by using our company's story as what she terms "an inspiring lesson."

According to Bruce, the "About Us" story of BCBC "played a substantial role, especially in the beginning, in magnetizing capital, media attention, and customer loyalty."

Read more about Bruce and the evolution of Blue Crab Bay Co. at

Crab cakes made easy

We love it when you love one of our products! Check out a review of our Crab Cake Kit on Coupon with Cents.

An appetizer-size bite to whet your appetite: "We had our crab cakes for dinner the other night and were super impressed! They tasted like they were made in a high-quality restaurant! They were moist and all of the seasonings came out in every bite!"

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

All rise for the "standing president's" new deal

Our president can't stop raving about her new computer workstation from Ergotron. Pam has chronic neck and lower back problems and was on the prowl for anything that would help. Well, she's found it! She's standing all day and says she's not even realizing it. She's even taking customers that come in our retail shop back to her office for a look at her treasured purchase!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Warming the soul with Blue Crab Bay Co. She-Crab Soup

It's that time of year when a gooey grilled cheese sandwich and a good bowl of soup are the remedy for the winter blahs. If you're looking for a quality meal without much work, our She-Crab Soup is just the ticket. Follow the simple recipe below for an easy dinner you'll look forward to making and eating!

She-Crab Soup
1 can Blue Crab Bay Co.® She-Crab Soup
1 can cream or half and half
Dry sherry
Whole nutmeg
Fresh crabmeat or 1 tin of Bay Beyond® Crabmeat
Fresh parsley, for garnish

Empty the contents of the She-Crab Soup can into a saucepan, and add one can of cream or half and half. (Tip: Don't use fat-free half and half or milk because it will significantly alter the quality of your finished dish.) Heat soup slowly, stirring frequently. Do not boil. Ladle the soup into two to four bowls, depending on their size. Drizzle with sherry. Grind the nutmeg atop the soup, then garnish with crabmeat and parsley. Serves two to four.