Maine lobster (Homarus americanus). Is there anything else that tantalizes the senses like a live Maine lobster? It is important to note that any lobster that is sourced from the American North Atlantic is classified as a “Maine Lobster”, whether the crustacean in question hails from North Carolina or Newfoundland. We at J.P.’s Shellfish are of the school of thought (and we’re not alone in this) that colder waters produce superior lobsters. As such, I am proud to inform you that all of our lobsters are sourced through the bone-numbing waters of Maine and the Canadian Maritime Provinces. Even during the peak of summer, these waters are braved only by those whom are either a little loopy and or under the age of 10. At our Eliot, Maine facility we have the ability to comfortably hold up to 100 thousand pounds of lobster at any given time. The lobsters are kept in custom designed tanks that are equipped with filters, chillers and scrubbers (to respectively cleanse, cool and oxygenate the re-circulating sea water). This closed system affords us a level of consistency which is impossible to attain either in pounds or open-system holding facilities. Constant qualitative analysis of the water in our tanks assures ideal temperature and salinity levels are maintained at all times.
There is a romantic/idyllic image that pervades the collective minds of America of a lobsterman and what he or she does for a living…Pulling out of the quintessential New England harbor onto the glassy ocean with the July sunrise blazing on the horizon and the ocean breeze gently stirring our angler’s hair…The reality of it all is that those who fish for lobster are more or less constantly at odds with the climate. Not to mention the ongoing concerns of vessel and gear maintenance, fuel costs, and a laundry list of other factors which are impossible to ignore. When viewed in the proper light, it doesn’t take long to realize that fishing for lobsters is one of the most physically demanding and dangerous professions on the water.
The lobsters we source range in size from one pound (Chicken or Chix) to six pounds plus each. Yield increases with the size of lobster. That is to say, one two-pound lobster will yield a greater amount of meat than two one-pound lobsters, if the lobsters in question all possess the same degree of shell firmness (read on for clarification). As a lobster grows, it will periodically shed its exoskeleton (shell). Shedding occurs less frequently as a lobster grows larger. A lobster may shed ten times in its first year of life, and eventually shed only once every couple years or so. When a lobster sheds its shell, it becomes what is commonly known as a soft (or new) shell lobster. Over time, the lobster’s “new” shell fills out with meat, and becomes firmer to the touch. Eventually, the shell becomes completely filled out, and the lobster is considered to be a true hard shell. When the lobster has reached maximum density (due to the restraints of the exoskeleton), it sloughs the old shell off, and the cycle begins anew. At the risk of mixing metaphors, it is kind of like a snake shedding its skin.
You will see a great difference in cost between the new/soft shell and the hard shell lobsters. As the new/soft shells firm up, the difference in cost will be less apparent. Right now, we have Maine firm shell and Canadian hard shell lobsters available. Please call for daily pricing and availability.
We also have lobster bodies available on a daily basis. The “body” is the lobster’s carapace. That is to say, what you are left with after the tail and claws have been removed. Bodies are available as frozen 25-pound units. Lobster bodies will help your chefs to create amazing bisques, sauces, stocks and or reductions. Help them bring the essence of lobster to a dish in a convenient, cost effective manor.