So how did we get here?  

It began and continues today with a time-honored promise of freshness and authenticity. Our consistently high and industry leading standards have stood the test of time.  No shortcuts, just generations of doing it right.

 

A Snapshot of Handy's Milestones

 

1894

John Handy Can John T. Handy establishes company.

With over 120 years in the industry, Handy is America's oldest seafood processor, and we're proud to say that our company continues to be small and family-owned. 

Since the beginning, Handy has operated from the beautiful shores of Crisfield, Maryland on the Chesapeake Bay, and we wouldn't have it any other way.  Known for being home to the world's best soft shell crabs, crab meat and crab cakes, Crisfield was once a small village.  When the potential for seafood was discovered a long time ago, the quiet fishing town quickly grew and was once known as the "Seafood Capital of the World"

1903

Plant Handy becomes the first company to process soft shell crabs.

1983

Actualizing Efficiencies

Handy becomes the first and only soft shell crab processor to use electronic sizing for soft shell crabs, a procedure that replaces visual sizing.

1984

Setting the Standard

secHandy is the first soft shell crab processor to be federally inspected under a voluntary USDC program.

Paving the Way

Handy introduces chilled dressed soft shell crabs—fresh crabs that are dressed, individually wrapped, and chilled quickly to 32°F. These crabs are ready to cook and boast an extended shelf life over fresh. Handy is the first company to use this method and changes the way American crab processors ship their crabs to market.

1985

Broadening Horizons

tokyoHandy begins flying live soft shell crabs to Tokyo and exports frozen soft shell crabs to Europe and the Pacific Rim.

1987

Optimizing Quality

crab cakeHandy introduces high quality 70% crab meat crab cakes to restaurants that had previously been making their own.

1990

From Fresh to Flash Frozen

Handy is the first processor to use cryogenic freezing for soft shell crabs, which dramatically improves product quality and provides a like-fresh taste.

Handy develops and patents trays for freezing soft shell crabs, with cavities that conform to the shape of the crabs and provide protection during shipping. Trays are vacuum-sealed to maintain freshness.

1993

Ahead of the Curve

Handy is the first seafood company in the Mid-Atlantic region to become HACCP certified before this FDA program becomes mandatory for the seafood industry.

1994

Keeping it Even Cleaner

black lightHandy introduces handmade all-natural crab cakes to the marketplace and institutes a new process in which crab meat is re-picked under black lights to remove shell fragments while maintaining product integrity.

2000

Crab for All Seasons

Handy introduces its technology to Asia, where fresh seafood is available year round, in order to offer a “Crab for All Seasons” to both meet the growing demand for healthy seafood in the U.S. and to conserve resources.

2002

Greater Growth

crab meatHandy expands into crab meat processing.

2005

Creating Convenience

Handy is the first crab meat processor to pack in a 6-pack case, offering a huge convenience for customers.

2006

Setting Records

logoHandy sets a Guinness Book World Record for the largest crab cake, which weighs in at just over 200 lbs. Proceeds from the sales of crab cake sandwiches made from the enormous crab cake are donated to the United Way of Delaware.

2007

Crab Counts

Handy lists counts on lump grades of crab meat and is the first company to color code lids to differentiate the grades

2009

Gluten Free

gfcoHandy introduces the world’s first and only certified gluten-free crab cakes.

2011

Sustainability

Handy develops an Artisanal Fish Program with full traceability that promotes sustainability.

2012

DNA Program

dnaHandy begins a DNA testing program.

Breaking Records

Handy breaks their existing record for the largest crab cake by 47 lbs. It weighed 300 lbs. Net proceeds from the sales of crab cake sandwiches made from the gigantic crab cake are donated to the Maryland 4-H Foundation.

2013

Broadening Horizons 

Handy introduces its new Gastropub Collection of Social Seafood.

New Menu Sensations

cccHandy introduces its new Crab Cake Combo – 4 grades of crab meat layered in one can. It’s the whole crab! Makes awesome crab cakes.

2017

100th Soft Shell Crab Season

Handy employees, watermen, council members and local businesses gather in Crisfield for a seafood feast to celebrate a century of soft shell crab processing! 

100th SSC Season