Monday, November 16, 2015

The Bad News Bays

In my last post I waxed poetically about how maybe we were in the middle of the best week of the year, considering that we had both Nantucket Bay scallops and fresh king crab legs available. That week has come and gone and I may have been more on point than I initially thought, because, unfortunately, it doesn't look like we will be having either back in our market any time soon.  Fresh king crabs traditionally have been difficult to find, so their scarcity is nothing new.  What is troubling is that since that glorious week of decadence, I have heard nothing but the disturbing sound of crickets coming from our guy Jeff in Nantucket bay.  The scallops are missing, and that is not something normal, especially for this time of year.

Word is the eel grass is gone and fishermen are working double just trying to produce a pound of scallops. The eel grass is vital habitat for the scallops, no grass, no scallops.  Fishermen are postulating that nitrogen run-off has decimated the beds.  It can't help that water temperatures are much warmer than in recent years.  The combined effect has made scalloping an exercise in futility. Out of the 12 boats that work with Jeff, 3 have already called it quits for the year.  We could have the worst Nantucket Bay scallop season since 1995, a year in which you had a better chance of finding Wonka's golden ticket than procuring a pound of the "sea candy".  

Just because you see tiny scallops labeled as Nantucket Bays, be warned, it doesn't necessarily mean they are.  There are several bay scallops on the market such as Calicos, Peconics and Martha's Vineyard bay scallops.  They are delicious in their own right, but they are not nannys.  I would only purchase the bay scallops from purveyors that you trust to tell you the truth.  Unfortunately, this year the truth is not pleasant.  An item that was already precious has just become that much more scarce.  

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