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Secret soft shell crabs at Jewel of the Sea, Woodbury

Live, local soft-shell crabs are on sale at

Live, local soft-shell crabs are on sale at Jewel of the Sea in Woodbury, June 20, 2014. Credit: Newsday / Erica Marcus

Right now there are some monster soft-shell crabs for sale at Jewel of the Sea in Woodbury. And not just any crabs. One of Long Island’s most experienced fishmongers, “Captain” Bill Mieschberger, just joined Jewel (owned by Lou Novello), and he brought with him a secret source in Freeport. This fisherman sets traps in the bay, hauls in the blue-claws and keeps them in tanks. As soon as they shed their shells, he scoops them up with a net. Out of the water, their shells don’t toughen up again. And off they go to Woodbury.

The crabs on sale Friday molted last night. They are as soft as, say, a baby’s nose. They are alive, and the guys behind the counter clean them to order. Each crab weighs about 1/3 pound and costs $5.99. Mieschberger hopes to have them for the next two or three weeks.

Jewel of the Sea is open every day from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., to 5 p.m. on Sundays, at 8049 Jericho Tpke. Woodbury, 516-496-2416.


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