Maryland is Home to: The Oldest Crabpacking Plant in the World

Maryland Has The Oldest Crabpacking Plant in the WorldMARYLAND - The J. M. Clayton Company, a pioneer in the seafood packing business, has an illustrious history that spans over a century. Captain John Morgan Clayton founded the company in 1890. It started as a modest oyster shucking and packing operation. However, Captain Johnnie had a vision of expanding the business and tapping into the potential of the crabmeat industry.

Maryland Has The Oldest Crabpacking Plant in the World
The J. M. Clayton Company

The J. M. Clayton Company

Recognizing the need to improve and grow, the company strategically relocated in 1921 to its current location in Cambridge. Captain Johnnie ensured that he brought along his skilled labor force, many of whom remain with J. M. Clayton. The employees' dedication and expertise have been vital to the company's continued success.

Throughout the years, J. M. Clayton has been dedicated to delivering high-quality seafood products. They were among the first to hand-pick and shed soft crabs, establishing themselves as leaders in the industry. In 1957, they revolutionized the crabmeat preservation process by introducing pasteurization. This breakthrough technique allowed crabmeat to be naturally preserved, extending its shelf life and maintaining its flavor.

Not content with its achievements, the company continued to innovate. In the 1970s, it introduced the first automatic crab-picking machine, the "Quik Pik." While unable to replace the hand-picking process for lump or backfin meat, this remarkable invention greatly enhanced efficiency in extracting crabmeat from the shell. This invention showcased J. M. Clayton's commitment to advancing the industry through technological advancements.

Today, the J. M. Clayton Company is a true landmark in the Chesapeake Bay seafood industry. Spanning three generations of the Clayton family, they have successfully navigated the ever-evolving challenges of the industry. Their unwavering dedication to producing top-notch seafood and innovative spirit has been the cornerstone of their resilience and success.