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johnnyd

Gulf of Maine Shrimp - 2008/2009

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The first load of Gulf of Maine Shrimp is in the house!

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This is Steve at Harbor Fish Market here in Portland's Old Port waterfront district. He's holding up about three pounds of fresh shrimp that were swimming in the Gulf of Maine yesterday.

I arrived two minutes after they opened this morning to find one fish-tote full of shrimp. As it turns out, it was the only box they had so far so there was a five pound limit. Price: $1.59/lb

According to the guys at Harbor, the shrimp boats waited for bad weather to clear on opening day, went out yesterday but farther than expected so the haul wasn't huge.

This is the F/V Jerry & Joe which looks to me like it's rigged for shrimping but no one was aboard to ask.

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I'll be snooping around the waterfront this December in the hope of talking to these hard-working guys and hear their take on the season's harvest, and the effect of this autumns economic turn on the industry.

In the mean time, I have three pounds of fresh Gulf of Maine shrimp to inhale.

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I can't believe I'm actually sitting here - after snapping these photos I split a couple open and sucked them right out of their shells. Then I realized I was trembling. This is why I go crazy every time the shrimp season opens up here in Maine - they are little bites of the ocean.

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For those new to my annual eGullet.org coverage of one of the few sustainable fisheries on the planet, check out these links to past shrimp seasons:

Gulf of Maine Shrimp - 2007/2008

Gulf of Maine Shrimp - 2006/2007

Gulf of Maine Shrimp - 2005/2006

Boats off-load shrimp harvest at the Portland Fish Exchange (Photo Essay - Feb'05)

After re-visiting prior years shrimp coverage, I am happy to report that the outrage that colored my older posts about the lack of attention from restaurants and the public for delicious fresh winter shrimp has been replaced by grateful acknowledgment that word is indeed getting around - Pandalus Borealis may finally be on people's radar - more people from farther away are posting prices; more media coverage has surfaced over the years; and my favorite: more chefs are creating plates for Gulf of Maine Shrimp.

However, this year will be interesting. With the economy in the crapper and seafood margins the thinnest in years, how long will Gulf of Maine Shrimp be around this season? Lobster prices are the lowest in 20 years, but not as low as shrimp. Will the local consumer derail the Maine Lobster Council's emergency marketing plan and buy the cheaper local shrimp instead? Would that be a good or bad thing?

What of out-of-state markets? Will the cost of transporting highly-perishable 40-60/lb shrimp to Colorado or Virgina be ridiculously high? Will demand for seafood in general be lower this winter anyway making the very thought foolish?

I hope folks from around the country post any Maine shrimp prices they see in their neighborhoods here. It's possible they will be scant, but that would be a shame - Maine shrimp are inexpensive and delicious. Pester your local fishmonger to get some this season... and while you're there, buy a lobster! :biggrin:


Edited by johnnyd (log)

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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Thanks for the post! I saw Delano's shrimp truck in Rockland today on Rt.1. $1.50/lb. Drove to work in Camden, another truck there selling them for $5/lb. Its "Christmas by the Sea" weekend there, so maybe someone is trying to capitolize on the wealthy tourists. Sad...then again my eyes may have been fooling me, its happened many a time before.

I'd love to do more with Maine shrimp, but unfortunately my boss doesn't like them. I've tried to sway him with no luck.


Edited by zeph74 (log)

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Thanks for the report, JohnnyD.

If we can get them down here in MA, I'll definitely add them to our Christmas menu, along with Maine lobsters.

Suggestions welcome!

- Laura

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Wonderful, Laura!

Somewhere in the Maine Shrimp threads from prior years are posts about specific places that choose to carry the critters - in Mass, Conn and farther away - made by other eGullet members. I completely understand if you choose not to wade through all of those posts - and places do turn over - so the best we can do is keep an eye open and pass this quest around to your friends. If you hear anything, report back!


"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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Wonderful, Laura!

Somewhere in the Maine Shrimp threads from prior years are posts about specific places that choose to carry the critters - in Mass, Conn and farther away - made by other eGullet members.  I completely understand if you choose not to wade through all of those posts - and places do turn over - so the best we can do is keep an eye open and pass this quest around to your friends.  If you hear anything, report back!

Sorry, I meant menu ideas...not ideas about where to get Maine shrimp. I know from previous years that the Whole Foods in Wayland usually has them.

Other items likely to be on the menu include Oysters, Lobster Bisque (thank you Maine!), and Beef Carpaccio. There's just me and my husband, and we tend to like a series of small plates.

- L.

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Local shrimp is gaining ground in Eastern Canada, there are restaurants embracing the harvest of Atlantic shrimp, as you know JD. The most effective boost came from the CBC documentary a few months ago revealing how Thai and Viet Nam shrimp are harvested and shipped around the world.


Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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A little Maine shrimp ceviche for our guests tonight,

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This is a sherry glass with about eight shrimp marinated in lime juice, garlic, red onion and cilantro.


"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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Prices for fresh shrimp are falling here in Portland.

Harbor Fish this morning:

Shelled Shrimp meat: $5.99

Shell-on, headless: $3.99

Whole shrimp: $1.29 (over 5lbs: $0.99)


"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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Got some at Whole Foods in Cambridge last night: $4.99/lb headless.  We lightly poached them, and had them with a dipping sauce of lime, soy, rice vinegar, ginger, and fish sauce.  Yummy!

That sounds delicious. May I ask what your proportions were? Roughly equal? Refrigerate overnight to marry?

I recently coated scallop pieces and shrimp meat with black bean and garlic sauce and flashed them on very high heat. Served with rice and stir-fried bok choy, carrot, celery and scallion.


Edited by johnnyd (log)

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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Got some at Whole Foods in Cambridge last night: $4.99/lb headless.  We lightly poached them, and had them with a dipping sauce of lime, soy, rice vinegar, ginger, and fish sauce.  Yummy!

That sounds delicious. May I ask what your proportions were? Roughly equal? Refrigerate overnight to marry?

I recently coated scallop pieces and shrimp meat with black bean and garlic sauce and flashed them on very high heat. Served with rice and stir-fried bok choy, carrot, celery and scallion.

The black bean and garlic sauce is a great idea. I think we're going to try them in a ceviche later this week.

I didn't measure proportions for the dipping sauce--and I made it while the water was coming to a boil for the shrimp.

I'd approximate the following:

3 parts lime

1-2 parts fish sauce

1 part soy

1 part rice vinegar

I added some microplaned fresh ginger, and a couple crushed long peppers (chilis or black pepper would be good too, I think)

You can adjust the sour/salty balance however you prefer. Hope you like it!

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They hit my local Whole Foods on Friday for the first time, headless shell-on @ $4.99.

I liked the way they had special "Sale!" signs printed up saying Regular Price: $6.99, as if the Maine shrimp were a routine item.

Alas this is not a cooking weekend for me, This seems to happen every year, the shrimp are plentiful in the Jersey markets when my life is too crazed to deal with them & then when things calm down, the shrimp disappear. Karma, it's a bitch.


Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea? How did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea!

- Sydney Smith, English clergyman & essayist, 1771-1845

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Hey thanks for the guideline - I'll give it a try.

I think we're going to try them in a ceviche later this week.

I use enough fresh lime juice to cover the shrimp, one clove minced garlic , twice that amount in minced red onion, and a handful of cilantro - with stems - chopped. A local chef I know includes fresh squeezed orange also which cuts the bite a bit. The shrimp is very sweet itself though. A Thai chili is good too. Enjoy!


Edited by johnnyd (log)

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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Got some at Whole Foods in Cambridge last night: $4.99/lb headless. 

Thanks for the tip! Picked some up tonight. Tossed them with roasted potatos and asparagus, lime juice and a touch of cumin.

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Do all the G of M shrimp make it to shore whole and unfrozen?

When I go to the market for Northern shrimp, it's often coming from a year-round off-shore harvester. The fishing takes place way up north (between Labrador and Greenland) "on muddy bottoms with an otter trawl fitted with a Nordmore grate". I'm not totally sure what that looks like, but it's meant to minimize by-catch and habitat destruction. It's delicious, and Clearwater's pdf says it's sustainable.


Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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Looking forward to many of the bugs as always! I'm going to be doing an Xmas brunch this year and have started thinking about a shrimp 'n' eggs scramble that replicates the clam 'n' eggs that Albert Asim makes at Bar Pinotxo in Barcelona. Asim uses very small, sweet clams, and I think that the Maine shrimp would be a fine local substitute.


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Do all the G of M shrimp make it to shore whole and unfrozen?

Yes, definitely.

Portland vessels don't need to go far in-season. In fact, below is a chart where two dozen shrimpers participated in a tow-survey during the 2005 season, right off cape elizabeth (about 5miles from me)

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Effort this year is about 320lbs per tow-hour, down from 332/lbs in '07.

Also, check out the Shrimp CSA on Mount Desert Island!

BAR HARBOR — Shrimp shares from local fishermen will be available this weekend thanks to the Penobscot East Resource Center (PERC). The drop originally was set for last weekend but was rescheduled for Saturday, Jan. 17.

PERC is working with a group of MDI fishermen this year to offer shrimp through a Community Supported Fishery (CSF). PERC is a nonprofit organization in Stonington with a mission to secure a future for the fishing communities of eastern Maine.

Similar to CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), local residents can buy full shares or half shares of fresh, whole shrimp. Full shares equal 10 pounds per week and cost $150 for 10 weeks total; half shares equal 5 pounds weekly and cost $75 for 10 weeks total. Fresh shrimp is a highly perishable product. CSF shrimp will still have the heads and shells on, and will therefore need to be “picked,” and should be frozen or cooked shortly afterward.

The CSF will begin on Saturday, Jan. 17. The pick-up location will be at Sassafras Catering in the West Eden Common, Town Hill.

If you would like to participate, contact Mr. Dority at 479-9677.

There are a lot more trappers than towers up there I hear. Trapping shrimp harvest are in better condition when they reach port.


"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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Local writer Nancy Harmon Jenkins writes in the Washington Post 1.14.09 about the CSF (Community Supported Fishery) phenomenon that is sweeping the coast of Maine,

As soon as the winter shrimp harvest was announced, most of us signed up again, sending checks for $105 or $210, which provided five to 10 super-fresh pounds a week for 12 weeks. That's about $1.75 a pound, the same price I might pay when buying from the ubiquitous shrimp trucks along the roads in Maine at this time of year; but with Port Clyde Fresh Catch, there's no question about quality.

Do I get tired of a few pounds of shrimp every week? No, not when they're as delicious and satisfyingly fresh as these are. That freshness means I can mimic a dish I was served by friends in Sicily, a refreshing salad of sweet raw shrimp -- or rather, just barely "cooked," as in a seviche, by a bath in citrus juice or vinegar -- tossed with fresh, slightly bitter arugula and fennel. With a stir-fry, I do the same as with the risotto, sauteing the rest of the ingredients, then stirring in the peeled shrimp off the burner, so they cook in the residual heat of the dish.

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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FYI, they're on sale at Whole Foods in the Boston area for $3.99/lb.  Not as good a price as the CSA, but I got 2 pounds anyway  :biggrin:

They were back in my NJ Whole Foods on Friday, same price, so I finally got my first taste of the season. :smile:


Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea? How did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea!

- Sydney Smith, English clergyman & essayist, 1771-1845

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Saco, Maine Shrimp Fisherman Craig Pendleton shot these pictures from the deck of his boat, F/V Ocean Spray

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He sets his net in and around Saco Bay. This is a 2000 pound haul - the first in the morning,

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The net is cracked open, and the crew cull through the harvest,

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Clean shrimp - jumping all over the place - ready to store for the ride to port,

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Craig emailed last night:

We are going out tomorrow I have about 500 pounds worth of orders. The market is terrible. I have been selling them on my own at 80 Ocean Park Road in Saco. We should be there around 4PM and have shrimp available for the weekend.

So in case anyone wants shrimp right out of the water for the weekend, Craig's house appears to be right next to the Old Orchard Beach connector off Rte 1 about 1/4 mile - paste into googlemaps for exact location. No phone number yet - but I'm on my way down to get some shrimp! :biggrin:


"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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Odd thing is, I haven't seen Maine shrimp anywhere this season. Last year they were very easy to find in NNJ.


"There's nothing like a pork belly to steady the nerves."

Fergus Henderson

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Today's Portland Press Herald 2.1.09 features an interview with Fisherman Craig Pendleton (see his pics in post #22) who is contemplating life without fishing on the Maine Coast,

Pendleton, 48, is trying to sell his boat, and last month started taking classes toward a business degree at Husson University in South Portland. For the third-generation fisherman, it is more than a career change. It's the end of a way of life and a family heritage.

"I'm the last Pendleton to fish out of Camp Ellis," he said. "I held out for as long as I could."

The Mainers who still drag nets for cod, haddock, flounder and other groundfish are the survivors, the most resilient of a hardy breed. But, like Pendleton, many of them are re-evaluating their futures and contemplating new careers, even in the midst of a historic recession.


"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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Odd thing is, I haven't seen Maine shrimp anywhere this season. Last year they were very easy to find in NNJ.

They were back at Whole Foods last week. They seem to be available alternate weeks starting on Thursdays, has been the recent pattern.

Today's Portland Press Herald 2.1.09 features an interview with Fisherman Craig Pendleton (see his pics in post #22) who is contemplating life without fishing on the Maine Coast,
Pendleton, 48, is trying to sell his boat, and last month started taking classes toward a business degree at Husson University in South Portland. For the third-generation fisherman, it is more than a career change. It's the end of a way of life and a family heritage.

"I'm the last Pendleton to fish out of Camp Ellis," he said. "I held out for as long as I could."

The Mainers who still drag nets for cod, haddock, flounder and other groundfish are the survivors, the most resilient of a hardy breed. But, like Pendleton, many of them are re-evaluating their futures and contemplating new careers, even in the midst of a historic recession.

Man, that's a sobering story.

Again I will recommend Colin Woodard's The Lobster Coast to anyone who's interested in how the Maine fishery got to this point.


Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea? How did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea!

- Sydney Smith, English clergyman & essayist, 1771-1845

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