Try telling a Maryland waterman that you can freeze Bay crabs and not ruin their delicate flavor and he'll probably say you don't have both oars in the water. That's exactly the problem facing the folks at Maritime Industries Inc.
The Rockville-based seafood processing firm is using what it describes as a revolutionary method to freeze crabs and shrimp. The firm says they can be kept for as long as six months and still taste as if they were plucked from the Chesapeake Bay an hour ago. It's a process that could have a significant impact on this region's watermen and the $150- to $175 million-a-year Chsapeake Bay seafood industry, the Rockville company maintains.
Maritime Industries was started in 1978 by Dr. Csaba Magassy, a plastic surgeon, and Dr. Wayne O'Roark, a dentist, who were looking for an investment they could be involved in.
They pooled their life savings and their knowledge of tissue and cell structure and began to experiment. About 200 bushels of crabs later, they had perfected a quick-freezing process for crustaceans.
"basically, crab meat is very delicate and starts to break down right after the crab dies," O'Roark explained. "we freeze it so fast that there is no decompostion of the cellular structure."
"we really have a very valid process," said Magassy, a former Air Force jet pilot. "everybody was sure that freezing crabs was impossible."
Magassy and O'Roark said one of their biggest problems has been convincing people that crabs and shrimp can be frozen and not lose flavor. Some of the company's 11 employes regularly conduct demonstrations at stores and before skeptical watermen and crab house owners.
Larry Sims, president of the Maryland Watermen's Association concedes that the process may make crabs available year-round.
"i can see that it will help us level the market out," he said. "there are still consumers out there that can't get crabs. It will make the market more substantial."
"they (the watermen) can crab anytime," O'Roark said. "and they know they will have a market for whatever they can get."
Local crab houses and restaurants can get fresh Bay crabs about eight months out of the year. During the winter and early spring, they must buy crabs from other parts of the country or close up shop. With frozen crabs they can stay in business year round. They can also cut their "dead loss," the number of crabs that don't survive and cannot be cooked.
In additition to Chesapeake Bay crabs, the Maritime line includes blue crabs from the Gulf of Mexico, shrimp and rock shrimp (a deep-water variety) and stone crab claws. Blue crabs sell for $3.99 for a package of four and gulf shrimp cost $2.79 a pound.
The freezing process, which has a patent pending, will be used soon on other delicacies from the deep such as lobsters, fish, oysters, clams and scallops.
The Maritime line of frozen seafood, which can be found in restaurants and crab houses throughout the area, is now making its way into supermarkets and smaller stores. Safeway will soon join Grand Union, A&P and Pantry Pride, which have been carrying Maritime products in the Washington area since early this year. Negotiations are under way with Giant Food.
The company grossed about $500,000 last year and expects that figure to double this year. "We've gotten requests from people in Wyoming and Michigan," O'Roark said. "We're banging on the door of national distribution."
The Washington public relations and consulting firm of Jackon/Summers Associates Inc. has moved its offices to 1625 K St. NW.
Equitable Trust Co. and Stone Financial Inc. have joined forces in a mortgage banking venture, Equitable Mortgage Associates. Equitable chairman H. Grant Hathaway and Stone Financial president Daniel S. Stone say the new firm will provide diversified financial services, including debt and equity placements to the real estate industry. Equitable Mortgage also will also offer consulting services to institutions, investors and developers.
The mortgage company will be managed by Daniel Stone and R. Michael Furlong, vice president of Stone Financial. Currently located in the Munsey Building in Baltimore, Equitable Mortgage Associates will move to the new Equitable Bank Center in Baltimore's Inner Harbor next month.
Equitable Trust, Baker, Watts & Co. and Stephen H. Gardiner and Donald L. Ward have also formed a firm specializing in government-related real estate finance. The new company, ABG Associates Inc., will arrange a real estate financing for projects receiving some form of government support, principally multi-family housing, nursing homes and hospitals.
ABG will stress the use of government financing programs such as GNMA tandem and mortgage-backed securities programs and the Section 8 housing assistance payments program.
The company has offices in Baltimoreand Richmond. A Washington office is scheduled to open at the end of the year.
Moench Publishing Group, a West German publisher of 11 defense-related magazines, has opened an office at 2550 M St. NW for advertising and editorial operations. It will be headed by Ron Sherman, the company's U.S. director. The company's English-language publications include NATO's Fifteen Nations, Military Technology, Aerospace International and Naval Forces.
Foreign banks have 300 offices and nearly $150 billion in assets in this country, making it a big business here. Now there is a publication, called Foreign Bank Focus, about this growing industry. The monthly newsletter on legislative and regulatory issues has been published since late last year by Laurence J. Whalen, a partner in the Washington law firm of Hamel, Park, McCabe & Saunders. Subscribers include banking officials, investment advisers, embassy personnel, law firms, government agencies and trade associates, Whalen said.
Martin Marietta Alumina Inc of St. Croix, a bauxite refinery that is a division of the Maryland-based Martin Marietta Corp., has won the 1980 National Environmental Industry Award for excellence in energy conservation. The award -- for production improvements that have saved 2 million barrels of oil since 1972 -- was made by the President's Council on Environmental Quality and the Environmental Industry Council.
Gus Speth, chairman of the Council on Environmental Quality, said that Martin Marietta Alumina saved about $26 million by making production changes that increased efficiency.