Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Lobster Prices; What To Expect

Valentine's Day is just around the corner and, for most of you sweethearts out there, that means you begin the search for that special seafood item that embodies the American love story; live, cold water lobster.  Many of you will take your date out for fine dining and be served delicious course after course, though often in rapid fire, as this time of the year is one of the busiest for all restaurant establishments.  Couple that with the fact that this year V-day is on a Friday, and you have the perfect recipe for over-crowded tables and maddening wait lists.  Some of you, though, being the hopeless romantics of the world, will opt for a private dinner at home, just you and your mate and that special third party: the live lobster.

So here's an update to all you cupids out there, whether you are dining in or risking life and limb and dining out, on just what to expect when the bill comes after you order that crustacean sensation.  This time of year is rough for Maine fishermen.  When water temperatures are very low lobsters are lethargic and move about as much.  Unfortunately, when they stay in one place that makes them very difficult to catch.  It's also impossible to harvest them when the water is frozen over, so pray for warmer temperatures the week before February 14th or else we could be buying Northeast Canadian lobsters.

Canada right now is mostly producing lobsters that have been pounded, which means lobsters are previously caught and then placed in cages out at sea.  Orders are taken and then filled with previously caught lobsters and as inventory goes, so goes down, the price goes straight up.  Canada also sells a significant amount of product to Europe and China and with the rising middle class in China willing to pay more for lobsters, our prices here in the U.S. will rise accordingly.

Couple these facts with our current bad weather and we could be looking at some very high lobster prices, especially for hard shelled lobsters.  Hard shells produce the most meat and offer the briny-sweet flavor we have come to expect from cold water lobster.  None of this is new though, as Valentine's Day historically is when lobster prices are at their highest for the year.  Show me the love meets show me the money.  It usually is more affordable to bring your lobster home alive and prepare that special meal for your mate.  So, since lobster prices look to be on the rise this next month, I encourage all of you to tap your inner Yankee, grab some lobster bibs and take the plunge at home.  Cooking lobster at home is very easy, very tasty, and makes for a great love story.    

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