(Reuters) - Those looking to hold a traditional crawfish boil for the Super Bowl may be seeing red due to a rare blast of cold in Louisiana that hit during harvest time for the popular crustaceans, causing shortages that will kick them off many game-day menus.
Production has plummeted due to the frigid weather with some farmers seeing harvests drop by as much as 90 percent, said Stephen Minvielle, director of the Louisiana Crawfish Research and Promotion Board.
"I just got off the phone with a farmer. He is crying in his coffee right now," Minvielle told Reuters on Wednesday.
Louisiana's production accounts for almost all of the crawfish in North America, and Super Bowl weekend is usually one of the peak consumption times in the United States, he said.
A cold January and an ice storm that slammed the U.S. South this week has frozen ponds over, making harvests nearly impossible. Water temperatures are about 20 degrees Fahrenheit (12 degrees Celsius) lower than normal and ponds have as much as an inch of surface ice.
"These creatures are used to tropical weather. Water is an insulator," he said.
(Reporting by Lisa Bose McDermott in Texarkana, Texas; Writing by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Eric Walsh)