COMMUNITY, INTER-ISLAND NEWS
September 5, 2012
Have You Had A Lobster Today?
by Barbara Fernald
It has been a strange summer for Maine lobstermen. The unusually early appearance of shedders (hungry new-shell lobsters that are coming out of hiding to find something to eat), the abundant spring fishing season in Canada, and large hauls in local waters are contributing factors to a record-low price paid to lobstermen for their catch. The lowest price paid, as of mid-August, at the Cranberry Isles Fishermen’s Co-op was $1.60 per pound of lobster. When I purchased a container of fancy French olives to take as a hostess gift to a recent dinner party, Bruce commented that I could have just brought them 10 lobsters instead.
There have been numerous news articles pondering the “whys” and the means to deal with this crustaceous glut, but there is no immediate answer. Better marketing would help, but not necessarily the marketing of a cook-it-yourself soft-shell lobster. It’s risky to ship a live product, in the most fragile stage of its annual growing cycle, beyond a certain distance in the heat of summer. That’s why people travel to Maine, instead, to eat these lobsters when they are at their tastiest.
The members of the Cranberry Isles Fishermen’s Co-op have been meeting weekly to consider alternate markets, discuss prices being paid by other dealers and be supportive of each other at a remarkably uncertain time in their business. Family and friends wonder what we can do to help them out.
One thing we all can do is eat. More. Lobster. Buy it as locally as possible; either directly from the lobstermen or from the dealer he or she sells to. Are you having a dinner party? Serve lobster. Want something for a ladies luncheon? How about lobster? Going to a community potluck supper? You already know my suggestion of what to bring.
Steamed lobster served with melted butter is still my favorite presentation when I’m only eating it a few times a month, but are you up for the creative challenge that comes from eating lobster more often? I am. For my mother’s birthday in July, I made a lobster quiche and she loved it. Bruce served dinner for 10 at our house a few weeks ago. His lobster pasta with lemon cream sauce was the best I’ve ever had.
One of my favorite dishes at the Islesford Dock Restaurant is a chilled melon soup with lobster. I asked the owners, Cynthia and Dan Lief, if they would share the recipe. They were more than happy to direct me to their chef, Kirby Sholl, who gave me the lowdown on his modified recipe from a cookbook by Sara Jenkins.
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