Which Maryland Restaurant Crab Cakes Are ‘True Blue’?

More than 50 restaurants have signed onto the Maryland's 'True Blue' certification program and marketing campaign. Launched this spring by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, the 'True Blue' certification program allows restaurants serving DNR-verified Maryland blue crab products to use a special logo in marketing or advertising the product.

'True Blue' wasn't so much designed to convert restaurant owners and diners to Maryland crab meat as it was to help diners who want Maryland crab meat find restaurants that serve it. “We’re not saying that imported crab meat can’t be delicious,” said DNR Fisheries Marketing Director Steve Vilnit when the program was announced. "We just happen to believe that fresh Maryland crabs are better."

Justin Moore, the executive chef at Vin 909 in Annapolis, says it's been hard to tell what the impact of the 'True Blue' campaign has been so far because his customers have come to expect him to use local ingredients, including Maryland crab meat. "The reaction seems to be more that customers can't believe other restaurants would not use Maryland crab," Moore said. "The certification solidifies their decision to eat with us."

The idea for 'True Blue' originated, partly, at a crabmeat taste-comparison conducted at Woodberry Kitchen for a Baltimore Sun story about the widespread use of imported crabmeat on Maryland menus. Spike Gjerde, Woodberry's chef and owner: "I told Steve (Vilnit) that there should be a labeling program."

To read the rest of the story, please go to: The Baltimore Sun