Country Barn Seafood
10852 Cathell Rd.
Berlin, Md. 21811
Aug. 30, 2013
The newspaper ad advertised “hard and fat” crabs, so I just had to find out what Country Barn Seafood had to offer.
The gruff voice on the phone rattled off Labor Day weekend prices between $30 a dozen and $66 a dozen, and the carry-out business would only take “cash or check.”
How are they running, I ask? I wanted to see what kind of an answer I’d get.
“It’s the way I grade the crabs. They’re all heavy,” says Charles “Speedy” Voss, co-owner of Country Barn Seafood.
He’s the only one there, so he’ll need some time to get the crabs ready.
Not a problem for me, since I’m in Ocean City and Country Barn is in Ocean Pines, down Cathell Road past the hardware store.
I order a dozen medium-large at $54.
“J.O. or spicy?” he asks.
At first I don’t realize he’s asking me how I want the crabs seasoned. I tell him to make them spicy, and then I tell him to make them like he likes them. He says he’ll go easy on the spicy.
Arriving at the Country Barn Seafood, Voss is sorting crabs into bushel baskets. But he’s not just measuring them for their size in length. He’s checking out each crab’s abdomen. Its color determines its fullness. He’s also checking out its back swimming leg is to determine what stage of molting the crab is in.
Lightly spiced, the local crabs from the Choptank and Wye rivers lived up to his “hard and fat” guarantee. Voss’ careful sorting pays off.
There wasn’t a light one in the batch. Each crab was full and sweet – how they are supposed to be.
While the business is no-frills inside, it does offer a nice touch – a stack of old newspapers so you have something to crack your crabs on.
Country Barn Seafood is a “keeper” if you’re looking for steamed crabs in Ocean Pines, just don’t expect a baker’s dozen.