Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Celebrate Christmas...Lobster Style!

The lobster capital of the world, Rockland, Maine, is celebrating Christmas…lobster style! Come check out Rockland’s annual lobster trap tree!

On display above the harbor, this Christmas tree is made up of 152 lobster traps, an assortment of colorful buoys and lights, all topped off by a red lobster at the top. Standing approximately 35 feet high, this holiday tree was created by the Rockland community to honor the towns rich
lobster history as well as the lobstermen who have become the backbone of the coastal town’s industry.

Do not miss this wonderful display of Christmas cheer and lobster pride! Click here to see the making of the 2010 lobster trap tree.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Lobster Family

We all know why Maine lobster is titled the True American Lobster, but what about their relatives in the south?

Warm water lobsters, also called spiny or rock lobsters, can be found in tropical waters near the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, Asia, or even the coast of Florida or Southern California. The
warm water lobster differs from the Maine lobster in that it does not have claws, but instead two large spiny antennae. The only edible meat on a warm water lobster is in its tail, which tends to be about 33% of its body weight!

Warm water lobster is the biggest food export in the Bahamas, and is the world’s source for frozen or canned lobster. Although similar in size and look, the warm water lobster and the Maine lobster are actually from a different class, and with over 40 species in the world this is
easy to believe!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Lobster Recipes

Tired of steamed lobster? Spice up your lobster dinner with these famous recipes!

For more delicious lobster meals, click here and enjoy!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

DIY: The Maine Lobster Roll

Looking to bring back sweet memories of summer? Want to recreate a lobster classic? Well here are some quick and easy tips for making the famous Maine lobster roll.

· Although it may be easier to buy from a can, try to use fresh lobster. Lobster from a can is not as firm, and many times is made up of warm water lobsters from the Bahamas or other tropical areas instead of the classic Maine lobster we know and love.
· Plan on using a 1 ¼ lb. to 1 ½ lb. lobster per one roll, depending on whether hard or soft shell. If soft shell lobsters, understand that there will be less meat inside than a hard shell, but many argue that the meat is sweeter than their denser counterpart. For more information on soft and hard shell lobsters check out our Lobster Facts.
· The classic lobster roll is typically put on a hot dog bun, however, a hamburger bun or bread of choice can be used as well. Maine lobster rolls have even been served in wraps!
· Once you have chosen your bun, make sure to toast it until golden brown. This adds to the flavoring of the finished product!
· Lobster rolls can be made two different ways: with butter or with mayo. If making a lobster roll with butter, make sure to heat the lobster meat before pouring it on. The classic lobster roll is made with a light flavoring of mayo mixed in with chilled lobster pieces.
· Make sure to always use fresh ingredients, and keep it simple! Do not overwhelm your lobster roll with a variety of other vegetables and spices; it will take away from the classic
taste. If making a “lobster salad” for your roll, keep the additives to a minimum adding only celery and light herbs.

For more instructions check out the traditional Maine lobster roll recipe given by the Maine Lobster Council and enjoy!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Already excited for next summer’s lobster season? Start planning for these upcoming lobster events!

The 11th Annual Maine Lobster Ride & Roll

When: July 21, 2012

Where: Oceanside High School

Join bikers as they trek around Maine’s beautiful coastline. Participate in one of four distances, and don’t forget to grab your fresh lobster roll for lunch!

The 65th Annual Maine Lobster Festival

When: Wednesday, August 1st, 2012-Sunday, August 5th, 2012

Where: Rockland Maine’s Harbor Park

Join thousands of lobster lovers in a celebration of our little red friend! Watch the crowning of the Maine Sea Goddess or the annual Lobster Festival Parade. Shop local arts and crafts while listening to live entertainment. And don’t forget to dig in to the 20,000 pounds of fresh Maine lobster!!

For other lobster related events for the upcoming year, click here.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Beauty of Bait

Here is a picture of the bait used to lure lobsters into the Crate to Plate traps. The bait used by Captain Dan can be anything from Herring to Rock Fish or Red fish to Hoagies. Every trap is filled with a bag of bait and then replaced with new bait after it has been hauled.

The tote that you see in this picture holds about 200 lbs. of bait. Captain Dan and his crew go through 6 or 7 totes of bait on each fishing excursion. That’s around 1000 lbs. a day!

Want to join Captain Dan and the Fisher Girl for a sail? Contact Crate to Plate to plan your own fishing adventure!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Pick Up a Live Lobster (And Live to Tell the Tale)

Want to pick up your live lobster? Here’s how!

Very quickly place one hand around the sides of the lobster’s middle, right below the claws. With the other hand, push the lobster’s claws from the bottom so that they are straight against its head. Re-adjust your grip so that you are holding both claws and the body. With its claws against its head the lobster can no long move to grip or pinch.

The lobster may start flapping its tail or thrashing after our first touch, just be aware of the claws and make sure to move quickly. Now that you are ready, pick up some Crate to Plate lobsters today!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

What Size is Your Lobster?

Maine lobstermen have been harvesting lobster in the same environmentally conscious way for over 100 years. These practices include “V-notching” female lobsters as well as setting a size limit for harvested lobsters.

Maine’s lobster size limit is 3 ¼ lbs. so as to allow all juveniles time to mature and reproduce before they are harvested. Every lobster caught is measured to ensure the survival of our favorite red friend.

Lobsters are measured based on the size of their carapace, the hard shell segment between the tail and the head. Lobstermen place a metal gauge at the lobster’s eye socket down the carapace. If the lobster’s carapace does not fit between the jaws of the gauge, then the lobster must be thrown back.

Lobsters can also be too small to be caught as well. Lobsters too small to harvest are called shorts. Lobster lovers in Maine typically dine on 1, 1 ¼, and 1 ½ lb. crustaceans!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Preserving Our Favorite Red Friend

In our previous post on sexing lobsters, we mentioned that female meat is considered sweeter, but it turns out that it is also rarer to find on our dinner table. Here’s why!

In order to preserve the lobster population, Maine lobstermen have adopted environmentally friendly fishing practices spanning back over 100 years. These regulations require that all reproducing females must be returned to the ocean after being caught.

In order to ensure that these reproducing lobsters remain safe, Maine lobstermen use what is called “V-notching” to mark the females. If a lobsterman catches a berried lobster (a female lobster with eggs under her tail), they must cut a small “v” on the lobster’s tail on the second flipper from the right. By V-notching this female, the lobster is forever safe from being caught. Any lobsterman who catches a notched lobster must throw her back even if she is not carrying eggs at the time. This practice ensures the continuation of our favorite lobster friend!

Want to brush up on your lobster lingo? Check out our post on lobster terms used by real lobstermen!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

What Gender is Your Lobster?

What to know if your lobster dinner is male or female? Here’s how!

To find the sex of your lobster, check the underbelly of the lobster’s tail. Located on along the backside of the tail are swimmerets—small flipper like appendages that help lobsters swim, reproduce, as well as provide a place for a female to carry her eggs. These swimmerets will vary depending on lobster sex.

To sex your lobster, look to the first set of swimmerets closest to the lobster’s head. If the swimmerets are hard and bonelike your lobster is a male, but if they are soft and featherlike you have a female! Male swimmerets also tend to be wider than their female counterparts. Many claim that female meat is said to be sweeter, so happy hunting!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

How Do Lobsters Grow?

As we learned in last week’s Lobster Facts, lobsters grow larger by shedding their shell. This process of molting depends on water temperature as well as lobster age and size.

Lobsters molt by secreting enzymes that soften their current shell. Once they are hidden from harm, a molting lobster will split the back of its shell and fold its body into a V in order to back out of its current home. Shedding lobsters are very vulnerable at this stage because their shell is very soft as it grows into its new body. An average molt will increase a lobster’s size by 20%.

As lobsters grow, their molting becomes less frequent. The smaller the lobster the more it sheds. Even lobster larvae (eggs recently detached from the mother-see link) molt within their egg. It is said that larvae will molt about six times within the egg and then many more times at the ocean surface before sinking to the sea floor. In the first 3 years, a lobster will molt at least every other month slowing to twice a year by years 5-7. After year 7 (when the lobster is considered to have reached maturity), the lobster will only molt once a year. Eventually as the lobster grows, molting will only take place once every few years depending on how long it takes to grow into the new shells.

Lobsters molt in cycles typically based on water temperature. Warmer waters aid in lobster growth, and many times molting becomes seasonal as the water temperature rises and falls. Adolescent lobsters will many times molt in the summer as temperatures rise, and again in the fall as the temperatures drop.

Want to brush up on your lobster lingo? Check out our post on lobster terms used by real lobstermen!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Lobstah Facts!

Love lobster? Well we hope you enjoy these “lobstah” fun facts!

General information about our little red friend:

 The first recorded lobster catch was in 1605. That’s a long relationship that we have had with our red little friend!

 Before the lobster gained popularity in the mid-19th century it was considered a mark of poverty served to prisoners, servants, and widows. Servants even specified in employment agreements that they would not eat lobster more than twice a week!

 In 1828 Maine passed a law banning out-of-state lobster-men. So you can trust that your Maine lobster has been caught by a true Maine-ah!

 The largest Maine lobster catch weighed in at nearly 71 million pounds for a value of over $285 million. Now that’s a lot of lobstah!

 The largest recorded lobster was caught off of Nova Scotia weighing in at a crushing 44 lbs. and an astonishing 3 ½ feet length.

True life: lobster

 Depending on the temperature of the water (lobsters grow slower in colder waters), it takes a lobster 5-7 years to grow to maturity and a size that is catchable.

 Our little red friends stay with us for a long time—some are even capable of living up to 100 years!

 Lobsters naturally have one larger forward claw, causing them to be identified as left-handed or right-handed. The meat from the smaller claw is more tender and sweeter, thus considered more succulent.

 Lobsters can regenerate their antennae, legs, and even claws. Losing a claw is common as lobsters will frequently amputate them to escape any danger on the ocean floor.

 Lobsters grow by shedding their shell and developing into a new, larger shell--this process is called molting. The molting of lobsters is how we get our soft and hard shell lobsters. Lobsters that have recently shed their old shell in order to grow a new one are considered soft shell or “new shell”. The shell is much easier to get into and the lobster meat tends to be much sweeter than hard shell. A hard shell lobster has already grown into its shell. That is why these lobsters are so much harder to get into!

 A young lobster in its first 5-7 years will molt about 25 times a year while mature lobsters only molt about once or twice a year—usually in the summer. Older lobsters only need to molt once every 3-4 years.

 Want to know if a lobster is male or female? It’s easy! Located on the lobster’s tail are swimmerets-- small flipper like appendages that help the lobster swim. Look the first pair of swimmerets closest to the lobster’s head. If they are hard and bonelike your lobster is a male, but if soft and featherlike it is female!

 Lobster eggs spend at least ten months on a female lobster, the colder the water, the longer it takes the eggs to hatch!

 When the eggs are ready to hatch, the mother will shake them out of their shell, releasing them as larvae. The larvae will float to the surface for 4 to 6 weeks. This makes the larvae very vulnerable to attack by fish, birds, and other sea life. In fact, less than .1% of larvae survive this surface period before sinking to the ocean floor to develop.

Eating lobster:

 The best time of the year to enjoy lobster is after Labor Day! Lobstermen bring in over 50% of the annual Maine harvest during the fall season.

 Maine set a size limit of 3 ¼” for lobsters to allow all juveniles to mature and reproduce before they are harvested. Lobster lovers typically dine on 1 lb, 1 ¼, and 1 ½’ crustaceans!

 Lobsters are a fantastic “dieting” food because they are high in protein and
low in fat. Compare a 3 ½ ounce lobster of 90 calories (without butter of course) to the 163 calories found in the same amount of chicken or 280 calories in a sirloin steak. How could you go wrong?

 It is a common misconception that lobsters scream when they are boiled.
Don’t worry, the sound you are hearing is actually the whistling sound of steam escaping the shell. Eat on!

 Lobster meat will become tough if overcooked. To avoid this, check the lobster frequently. When the meat turns opaque it is done and should be immediately removed from heat.

 After you have boiled your lobster use a pair of kitchen shears to snip the claws. This will allow for the water to drain and keep your plate and other food from getting soggy!

 If you are having lobster for a formal occasion, pre-crack the lobster for your guests by cutting lengthwise through the underside of the tail with scissors (just the shell, not the meat). You can also crack the claws to save some pounding at the dinner table. Enjoy!

 Don’t miss out on the flavorful meat in the legs! To get this succulent meat you can either suck it out or use a rolling pin to roll down the sections of the legs and push the meat out of the end.

 Additional cooking of already boiled lobsters tends to toughen the meat and make it less palatable. So use your left over lobster meat for a salad or a cold dish.

Want to brush up on your lobster lingo? Check out our post on lobster terms used by real lobstermen!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Lobstah Terms

A little behind on your lobster terminology? Here are some lobster terms used by real lobstermen!

Bug: Slang for lobster.

Cull: A lobster with only 1 claw.

Cock: A male lobster.

Hen: A female lobster.

Berries: Lobster eggs.

Berried Lobster: A hen with eggs under her tail.

V-tail: If a lobsterman catches a berried lobster, he must “v-notch” the lobster. By cutting a small
“v” on the lobster’s tail in the second flipper from the right, the hen safe from being caught for life. Any lobsterman who catches a notched lobster must throw her back even if she is not carrying eggs at the time. This ensures the safety of all procreating females.

Molt: When a lobster sheds its shell in order to grow larger into another shell.

Soft Shell or “Shedder”: A lobster who has recently molted and shed its shell to grow into a larger shell. Soft shell lobsters tend to be a little more inexpensive than hard shell lobsters because there is less meat, but this meat also tends to be sweeter and easier to access by hand.

Hard Shell:
A lobster who has fully hardened after molting. Hard shells provide more meat when eating, but are also harder to get into and require nutcrackers.

Cephalothoraxes: This is the name used to describe the fused segments of the head and thorax.

Carapace: The hard shell covering the cephalothoraxes.

Metal Gauge: This is the tool used to measure the lobster before catching. The gauge is placed at the eye socket of the lobster and measures the carapace of the lobster’s shell. If the lobster’s carapace does not fit between the jaws of the gauge, then the lobster must be thrown back.

Shorts: Lobsters who are too small to harvest.

Banding: When a lobster is deemed fit to catch, it must first be banded around its claws. This ensures safety when touching the lobsters, but also protects the lobster from harm to itself and others when in the live-tank.

Live-tank: This is a tank found on a lobster boat full of seawater to hold the day’s catch.

Tote: The box used to hold the bait placed in all traps. Totes can hold up to 200 pounds of bait.

Trap: A cage full of bait used to hold lobsters until they can be caught.

Buoy: A color specific marker used to indicate the placement and ownership of traps. (put in link to buoy blogs)

Gaff: This is a wooden pole with a hook on the end used to pull up buoys from the boat. Pulling up a buoy is called “gaffing”.

Hauler: This is an electronic device on the boat used to haul up traps from the ocean floor. Once the lobsterman has finished “gaffing” the buoy, he runs the buoy rope through the hauler which begins pulling the lobster traps towards the surface.

Sternman: The person responsible for emptying, baiting, and dropping traps after they have been hauled.

Washboard: The railing of the boat where hauled traps are placed to empty and re-bait.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Captain Dan’s Catch

When he’s not busy getting lobsters ready for Crate to Plate clients, Captain Dan is fishing around West Penobscot Bay’s many inlets and islands.

So where does he sell his daily catch? Besides his Crate to Plate traps and direct sales, most of Captain Dan’s lobsters are sold locally. This means that you can find Captain Dan’s lobsters in Lincolnville, Islesboro, and Rockland. You can also find Captain Dan’s lobsters at Natalie’s restaurant in the Camden Harbour Inn!

For more information on

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Crate to Plate Buoy

As explained in last week’s post on lobster buoys, every lobsterman uses color specific buoys to identify their traps. Captain Dan uses yellow buoys with a green stripe on top to identify his traps amongst the thousands placed in West Penobscot Bay.

Generally, Captain Dan delegates one buoy to mark two traps underwater. Each buoy is also numbered by the traps that they mark. These buoys range in size but are used to locate all 800 of the Captain’s traps. Crate to Plate accounts for 100 of these traps and are distinguished by a “CTP” written above the numbered traps they indicate. When pulling up Crate to Plate lobster traps, Captain Dan records the catch separately from his other traps.

Come see for yourself! Join Captain Dan on a fishing trip by contacting Crate to Plate today!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Meaning of the Lobster Buoy

Lobster buoys serve as more than just decoration amongst Maine’s harbors and coastline and are in fact markers of lobster traps beneath the ocean surface. These buoys are a way for lobstermen to locate their traps and each follow a specific pattern. Every lobsterman has a specific color scheme for their buoy collection so that they may distinguish their traps from others.

Captain Dan’s buoy markers are painted yellow with a green strip on the top. These colors are used to identify all 800 of his traps, including the 100 traps used specifically for Crate to Plate.

Come see for yourself! Join Captain Dan on a fishing trip by contacting Crate to Plate today!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Crate to Plate's Local Catch

Want to know where your Crate to Plate lobsters come from?

Captain Dan and the Fisher Girl sail out of Saturday Cove in Northport, one of the many small inlets that make up West Penobscot Bay. Crate to Plate lobsters come from traps placed along the coast stretching from Lincolnville to Bayside. Coast dwellers may see the Fisher Girl near Islesboro’s ferry dock, at Lincolnville beach, or even as far north as Searsport.

While fishing, Captain Dan sails around many of the islands littering the Maine coast including Flat Island, Seal Island, and Ram Island— all bordering Islesboro’s shore.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Saturday Cove, Home of the Fisher Girl

Nestled between Little Harbor and Kellys Cove, Saturday Cove sits across from Seal Harbor and the beautiful island of Islesboro. Saturday Cove is one of the many small inlets and harbors that make up West Penobscot Bay. This small cove also offers the perfect port for Captain Dan and the Fisher Girl to lobster from and serves as a base for all of Crate to Plate lobster operations.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Fisher Girl

Here is a picture of Captain Dan’s lobster boat the Fisher Girl. Captain Dan acquired his fishing boat in 1999 after beginning fishing in 1994. The boat is named after a picture the Captain saw of a girl enjoying a day on the beach.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Lobster Fishing with Crate to Plate

Want to fish with a real Maine lobsterman? Go sailing with Captain Dan on the Fisher Girl and learn the trade that has made Maine famous!

Sailors will live the true fishing experience as they navigate the rocky coast picking up traps. Watch eagles sunbathing on Flat Island while learning to haul traps and pack bait bags. Discover a harem of seals laying on a rocky key while emptying traps and banding lobsters.

Sailors will experience the beauty of ocean life while becoming an expert on all things “lobst-ah”. Learn how to correctly pick up a lobster, the difference between a hard and soft shell, or even how to “V-notch” a hen. Guests will practice the same environmentally conscious lobster procedures that have been a part of Maine life for over 100 years.

So join Crate to Plate and Captain Dan on a fishing adventure and discover Maine’s lobster in a whole new way!

For more information on how to schedule a tour with Captain Dan, please visit the Crate to Plate website.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Meet Captain Dan!

Crate to Plate may have begun in November 2009, but Captain Dan’s relationship with our lobster friend actually began in 1994.

A long time ocean lover, Captain Dan has been sailing since 1979. After graduating from college, Dan moved to Florida to start work in the corporate world. Six years later, Dan got his Captain’s license and began sailing around the world delivering and servicing yachts.

On a routine sail to deliver a boat, Captain Dan ended in up in Maine. Upon seeing the state’s beauty and possibilities, he decided to stay in Vacationland to discover the Midcoast’s rocky beaches, island speckled coast line, and its most famous export—lobster.

Deciding it was time for a career change; Captain Dan embraced his new state’s specialty and began lobster fishing in 1994. A self-taught fisherman, Captain Dan steadily grew his business to include over 800 traps located around the Northport coast.

Today Crate to Plate offers customers a full lobster experience including boat tours for those who would like to learn Captain Dan’s famous trade or the harvest of one of his many traps. Check out the Crate to Plate site for more information on Captain Dan and his lobster friends!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Lobster Roll Rumble – Maine Results

The Camden Harbour Inn recently participated in the Lobster Roll Rumble in NYC. Executive Chef Geoffroy Deconinck (nominated for Food & Wine's "People's Best New Chef Award 2011) developed an inventive, but true to Maine tradition, simple recipe that allowed the lobster to be the focal point of the Inn’s entry. He chose lobster from Crate to Plate to ensure the freshest catch.

Prestigious judges, including Martha Stewart and Kyle Maclachlan sampled 18 entries. Camden Harbor Inn placed second with 58 of 60 points. The third place entry had a total 40 points. Crate to Plate’s lobster was voted best tasting lobster.

We are also glad that the judges support our belief that lobster pulled from the waters of Midcoast Maine are the best; Lobster served at the peak of freshness yields the best results; Recipes that are interesting but that allow the quality and freshness of the meat to shine are true to food harvested at their peak from prime sources.

We are proud to have partnered with Camden Harbor Inn and Chef Geoffrey at this event. We encourage you to stop at Natalie’s the Inn’s restaurant and sample a winning lobster roll and lobster harvested the same day by Crate to Plate.

Photo by JosephCorradoPhotography