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
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"
Handy becomes the first company to process soft shell crabs.
Handy becomes the first and only soft shell crab processor to use electronic sizing for soft shell crabs, a procedure that replaces visual sizing.
Setting the Standard
Handy 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.
Handy begins flying live soft shell crabs to Tokyo and exports frozen soft shell crabs to Europe and the Pacific Rim.
Handy introduces high quality 70% crab meat crab cakes to restaurants that had previously been making their own.
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.
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.
Keeping it Even Cleaner
Handy 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.
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.
Handy expands into crab meat processing.
Handy is the first crab meat processor to pack in a 6-pack case, offering a huge convenience for customers.
Handy 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.
Handy lists counts on lump grades of crab meat and is the first company to color code lids to differentiate the grades
Handy introduces the world’s first and only certified gluten-free crab cakes.
Handy develops an Artisanal Fish Program with full traceability that promotes sustainability.
Handy begins a DNA testing program.
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.
Handy introduces its new Gastropub Collection of Social Seafood.
New Menu Sensations
Handy introduces its new Crab Cake Combo – 4 grades of crab meat layered in one can. It’s the whole crab! Makes awesome crab cakes.
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!