Looking for a premium grade wild Maine mussel? Well look no further! Our Swan’s Island mussels are exactly what you’re looking for…Now before you tune out because of any prior wild mussel experiences and or perceptions…It bears mention that our Swan’s Island mussels a fully processed, and while they might not be quite as consistent as farmed-mussels (I challenge you to find me ANY wild product that is as consistent as its farm-raised counterpart), painstaking measures have been taken to assure that these mussels can go straight from the bag to the pot to the plate (minimizing labor cost).
So what exactly have we done? Read on… Two of the more common complaints about wild mussels are that they are “gritty”, and or that the byssal threads (aka “beards”) are intact. When we get right down to brass tacks…Neither of these issues should be a factor with the Swan’s Island Mussels. Immediately after harvest, the Swans Island mussels go into a period of open-water wet storage. That is to say, our Swan’s Island mussels are actually wet stored right in the Gulf of Maine proper. The Swan’s Islands are held in this wet-storage for a minimum of three days, where they will rid themselves of any impurities (grit, mud, sand, etc.) they might have brought with them from the bottom of Blue Hill Bay, while simultaneously “brining up” (increasing salinity and flavor). After this wet storage process is completed, the de-byssing (de-bearding process) begins. In most large scale plants, the mussels are run across a series of rollers which are pretty darn effective in pulling the byssal threads from the mussels…For an automated method…And realistically, when you’re talking about de-bearding tons of mussels at a whack…You had better have an automated system.
So what does one do about beards in a cottage fishery such as this? Here’s the juicy part…The byssal threads on the Swan’s Island mussels are all removed by hand. That’s right. Mussel by mussel. One set of hands, one pair of pliers, one mussel. This is without question one of the more unenviable tasks in the industry (Right up there with peeling shrimp!)…If you’ve ever seen the look on a prep-cooks face when presented with the same task for a 10-pound bag of mussels, you know what I mean. After the Swan’s Island Mussels are de-bearded, they are given one more final inspection before being graded for size. The Swan’s Island mussels are available either as a large grade (3-3.75”) as well as a “bouchot” (2.25-3.”). Either way…The meat yields will impress even the most particular of sorts. Meats are nothing shy of enormous. So how good are the Swan’s Island Mussels? Recently Erik sampled them to eight individuals, and asked them whether the mussels were wild or farm-raised. The subjects unanimously agreed that the Swans’ Island mussels were farm-raised.