Ordering Fresh Seafood Online

by Curt Engle © 2007, All Rights Reserved
With a charge card and an Internet connection, the world can be delivered to your doorstep!  That's the glory of the worldwide web.  Even fresh seafood can be plucked directly from the ocean and shipped live to your home or office.  While the convenience may be enormously appealing, there are a few things you'll want to be wary of when shopping for seafood.  Let me share 5 of the best-kept secrets for ordering fresh seafood online so you can easily spot a reputable mail order company.
#1 - Knowledge Is Power… and Safety!  You'll find numerous companies on the web that sell every type of seafood imaginable.  While this may seem like one-stop-shop heaven, it may actually be a warning signal.  Companies that sell dozens of different varieties often don't specialize in any.  They have little knowledge about the seafood they resell.  Just like purchasing from Wal-Mart, these vendors are merely passing mammoth volumes of products through a checkout.  If you want to buy fresh blue crabs pass over the companies that sell blue crabs, tuna, salmon and every other type of frozen seafood. Instead, look for a company that specializes in fresh blue crabs.   These are the companies that know their products inside out and can ensure both quality and safe delivery.
#2 - Define "Jumbo" - You often see terms such as "large" and "jumbo" associated with seafood types.  Don't assume every company uses standardized sizes for these terms.  You might be surprised to know one business defines a "jumbo" crab as 6 to 6.5 inches while another company defines "jumbo" as 6.5 to 7 inches.  This usually accounts for the difference in pricing.  Be sure you know what you're getting before you buy.
#3 - Proper Packaging Is Vital - Can you imagine ordering premium seafood for a special occasion and having it arrive damaged or spoiled?  Unfortunately, many online seafood companies cut corners when it comes to packaging.  In fact, one of the biggest registered complaints about packaging is that fragile items such as blue crabs arrive with cracked or crushed shells.  What causes this?  Often companies just throw ice packs into a box with the seafood.  What *should* happen is that a calculated amount of ice is carefully added to an insulated and padded shipping carton.  The internal packing material helps support the weight of the ice (which keeps the seafood at a safe temperature during shipping) and prevents it from crushing your order.  When a proper ice/packing ratio is used, your seafood arrives in excellent condition: whole, undamaged and safe.

#4 - Ship It Fast! - Purchasing live seafood?  Don't even think about choosing a "ground" shipping option.  Ground shipments do not offer guaranteed time delivery.  Even if the expected delivery date is one to two days, the shipping company has the option of delaying your package for any number of reasons.  This can easily mean your order will be unusable when it arrives.  What a waste!  With something as perishable as live crabs, for example, don't cut corners even if the seafood company tells you it's safe.  If ordering frozen seafood, ground shipping is a perfectly safe option. For live or fresh products, however, always choose overnight express shipping to be absolutely sure your seafood will arrive at its best.  Another tip: If you're ordering seafood to serve the night of delivery, you'll also need to opt for overnight express shipping so your package will arrive before the evening meal, not after it.  Remember: If it’s fresh use express, if it's frozen ground will do.

#5 - Customers Come First - This should be the motto of every company you buy from, however, it is especially true when it comes to fresh seafood.  You want to know there is someone you can contact for a resolution if you have any problems or questions.
Is ordering seafood online safe?  Absolutely!  You can get some excellent delicacies that you otherwise wouldn't be able to enjoy.  Just be sure you're familiar with these 5 best-kept secrets and you can confidently order delights such as crabs, shrimp and more anytime your heart desires!

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About The Author, Curt Engle
Curt Engle is the owner of http://www.iLoveCrabs.com. Have an upcoming special occasion? Want to make family dinners something to remember? Get fresh, succulent hard or soft shell Maryland blue crabs delivered right to your door!