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Maryland ‘True Blue’ program promotes homegrown crabs

ANNAPOLIS — If you have ever wondered where the crab meat used in restaurants comes from, Maryland state officials have an answer.

The state’s new “True Blue” program is certifying restaurants that primarily serve homegrown Maryland crabs and crab meat. The program was developed by Steve Vilnit, fisheries marketing director for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Vilnit has been bringing chefs out onto the bay and to crab picking houses to convince them of the superior quality of Maryland crab meat. He says 84 restaurants have signed on to the program so far.

To be certified, 75 percent of the crab used by restaurants must be from Maryland. Vilnit says the department didn’t make it 100 percent because fresh Maryland crab meat is not available all the time.