Halfway through Lent, seafood stores still busy

Halfway through Lent, seafood stores still busy
Johnny Olsen, and his daughter wait for their seafood purchase to be weighed. (Source: WLOX)

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Phones were ringing off the hook as people came in and out of Desporte & Sons Seafood, in Biloxi Friday.

"Our crawfish are $2.50 a pound," said the store clerk to a customer on the phone. Crawfish seemed to be the most popular item on the menu.

Desporte wasn't the only place that got swamped on Friday. Many seafood places on the Coast were dealing with the Lenten feeding frenzy.

"Seafood sales on Friday are tremendous because of Lent. It's always real busy during Lent. And Lent always coordinates with crawfish season, so it makes it extra busy for that," said Jim Gunkel, the business manager at Quality Seafood and Poultry.

Sean Desporte loves the Lenten season. He says it's not only great for business, but it allows him to connect with his customers and provide them with what they need. 
"We keep a good variety of crab meat, a lot of fresh shrimp. We have a couple different sizes of crawfish. We have boiled shrimp, boiled crabs, boiled crawfish, and we also have a lot of oysters in stock," said Desporte.

Since Lent lasts for six weeks, customers say a variety in their diet is just what they like, no matter where they shop.

"We try to change it up. We eat fish, or shrimp, or crawfish... We're right in the crawfish season, so I'm looking forward to that. But tonight, it's grilled Cobia," said Johnny Olsen, who observes Lent.

Johnny Olsen came to Quality Seafood with his daughter Finley who has a religion class project.

"She had to come up with a menu. So tonight, she chose fish, jasmine rice, and green beans," added Olsen.

Lent, traditionally, is a time of fasting and sacrifice for Catholics, but some will tell you that giving up meat one day of the week isn't too bad.

"We actually look forward to Fridays. We're lifelong Coast residents, and we probably don't eat enough seafood, so Fridays during Lent are pretty special," said Olsen.

There are three more weeks of Lent left for the 2018 season, so this Friday's purchases were just the midway point of the season.

According to a food research website, seafood sales rise 50 percent on Fridays during Lent versus on non-Lenten Fridays.

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