The Lobster, a New England Feast
To many Cape Cod visitors a lobster meal is on the list of “must do’s” while vacationing in this seaside area. The following are a few facts for your next New England Lobster feast that I found interesting.
Folks love to eat the New England lobster as can be seen by the fact that the fishermen from this region catch and sell over 60 million pounds of the tasty crustacean each year.
It takes most lobsters from 5 to 7 years to grow to legal size. During that time period it will shed its shell between 25 and 27 times.
- Female lobsters bear between 6,000 and 100,000 eggs. Fishery and conservation laws in most New England states, prevent fishermen from keeping egg bearing females.
- Prior to the invention of food canning in the middle of the eighteenth century, lobsters were considered only good enough to use as fertilizer. Lobsters that were washed ashore in the aftermath of storms, were only fed to the hired help.
- The natural color of lobsters is a deep green. Only cooked lobsters are red. The rarest color is blue. Only about one in 2 million lobsters is blue. We are fortunate that there is one of these rare blue lobsters in Falmouth’s own Woods Hole Aquarium.
- The largest lobster ever caught was pulled up off the coast of Nova Scotia and weighed over 44 pounds. It was believed to have been over one hundred years old. However, divers off the coast of Maine, have said that they have observed much larger ones.
- The only legal way to catch a lobster is with a licensed trap. The largest lobsters found in traps weigh 15 pounds, although ones that large must be thrown back for exceeding the maximum size.
- Scientists tell us that lobsters have 20,000 “eyes,” however, it is said that they have poor vision and communicate by smell and by sensing movement with their antenna.
- Each New England state has designated lobstering grounds and a limited number of licenses are issued. These coveted licenses are passed down from generation to generation. Each lobsterman has his designated fishing area and they are careful not to trespass on each other’s area.
When Bill was a child his family vacationed on the New Hampshire coast. His Uncle John would get, what was known as a private non-commercial lobstering license. This license would allow a private citizen to place up to five traps in the water off his property. That license also required him to fish from a boat. I can remember my mother-in-law’s descriptions of the wonderful meals of lobster, drawn butter, corn on the cob and freshly baked rolls the family would enjoy. These feasts were served on the cottage porch on warm summer evenings.
In those days, there was a charmed period in a boys life. Bill and his cousin Jack would launch the family’s row boat off the beach and would dive in 10 to 15 feet of water with a two pronged spear. It was not necessary to spear the lobster, the boys would simply approach the slow moving creature from behind and place the prongs on either side of its tale then lift up behind the claws. They would then swim to the surface and toss the lobster into the boat. This practice is now prohibited by law but at that time it was a fine adventure for the northeastern version of two Huckleberry Finns.
Some great places and events for enjoying your New England Lobster Feast include:
While all of the bedchambers at the Palmer House have their own charm suitable for relaxation after the most wonderful day of New England lobster feasts, we recommend the Harriet Beecher Stowe room, the Theodore Roosevelt room or the Emily Dickinson room. These rooms feature comfortable king beds, fireplaces, jacuzzi-style tubs for a relaxing stay before and after your day.