Are You Ready To Pay $40 For A Lobster Roll This Season?
Yes ... you read that right! You may have noticed already that lobster prices are going through the roof. Even here in Maine. I'd expect to pay $40 for a lobster roll somewhere far away from here, like New York City ... but right here in our own back yard, where lobster was practically invented?!
There's a perfect storm of actors at play causing the huge price hike. According to Fox News, international demand, not-so-awesome weather, and frozen Canadian fisheries have all been problems.
Also because of the bad weather, fewer fisherman were out hauling traps, so the overall haul for this part of the season has been a bit skint. And federal law regulates the number of boats allowed into Maine fishing grounds, resulting in more reliance on Canadian lobster.
As the weather warms up, and the season goes on, prices are expected to come down a bit, but right now, even the retail price of the tasty critters is way up. depending on the size, some bugs can cost up to $12 - $14 per pound. Restaurants can pay even more if they want lobster already shucked, which means they have to charge more on the other end.
As a veteran of the restaurant industry, here's something to keep in mind when you're lamenting about the price of that lobster roll you want so bad. If it seems cheap, there's a reason. It usually means they're buying frozen claw and knuckle meat from Asia. Thankfully, the born and bred Mainers can spot / smell frozen lobster coming at us a mile away.
The tourists will be glad to save a couple bucks, but not realize the culinary travesty they're about to shove down their grocery hole. It seems totally crazy, but if you see a roll anywhere for less than $20, run in the other direction! And right now, if you see a $40 price tag you'll know why. Although, I'm sure there's a few places that will choose to barely break even on them til the price comes down a bit.
Again, prices should stabilize in the next couple months, but man, I may just have to put the brakes on those delicious rolls of buttery, briny, mayonnaise-y goodness for a spell. Or maybe it's time to put a knife in my teeth and dive shirtless into Penobscot Bay and start catching lobsters the old fashioned way...with tough brute force.
Or, I could just wait.....