CAMBRIDGE — The J. M. Clayton Company of Cambridge received a 2016 American Treasures Award on June 5, at the Four Seasons Hotel overlooking Baltimore Harbor.
The American Treasures Awards are presented by MADE: In America of Washington, DC to the Nation’s top farmers, foragers and craft producers. The awards were presented at a reception that featured tastings created by the All American Chefs, chaired by Chef Zach Mills, executive chef at Wit and Wisdom in the Four Seasons Baltimore. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake presented the award assisted by Chef Mills, and Made: In America CEO James De Lorbe.
Also receiving awards were United States Senator Barbara Mikulski of Maryland, and Dr. Carla Hayden, librarian of Congress elect of Baltimore.
The J. M. Clayton Company, the world’s oldest crab processing company, was selected to win the award in recognition of the company’s long and storied history of innovation and adaptability that represents a singular commitment to sourcing and advancing American food ways.
For over five generations and 126 years, The J. M. Clayton Company has been preparing live Chesapeake Bay blue crabs delivered fresh daily by local waterman. This traditional Maryland delicacy can be enjoyed steamed or as the companies signature Epicure crab meat that is prepared without chemicals, additives or preservatives.
The J. M. Clayton Company has survived over the years through sound management combined with their efforts in establishing working relationships with local waterman and repeat customers several of whom have been dealing with the company for over 40 years. The company takes pride in supplying the market with a quality local product. With the valued assistance of many dedicated and experienced crab pickers, they can accomplish that goal.
The J. M. Clayton Company was the first crabmeat processing plant in Dorchester County, and one of the first on the Chesapeake Bay which is home to this industry. From the height of Maryland’s crab picking industry when over 60 businesses were in operation, Clayton’s is currently just one of less than 20 left and the only on remaining on the water on Cambridge Creek.
The Company is operated by brothers, Jack, Joe and Bill Brooks, great-grandsons of the company’s founder Captain Johnnie Morgan Clayton and Clay Brooks his great-great grandson.
Jack Brooks, president stated that “It is an honor to receive this award. I cannot remember being recognized in this way before and we are truly pleased. Also it is quite an extreme distinction to receive an award on the same platform as Senator Mikulksi and Dr. Hayden, two very prominent citizens of Maryland.”
“Senator Mikulksi has kept us in business over the last 10 years with her assistance on the H2B work visas that have become so politically sensitive,” added Mr. Brooks.