Every time I visit Maine, I return home with a few extra passengers. My "hitchhikers" are, of course, live Maine lobsters… albeit not live for long.
Enjoying one last taste of fresh Maine lobster on my return home always softens the blow of having to say "good-bye" to Maine. Unpacking, sorting the laundry and scanning the mail pile all seem like less of a chore when I know my reward will be Maine lobster dunked in hot butter.
If you'd like to buy live Maine lobsters to cook while you're staying in Maine, to transport home or even to arrive on your doorstep if you can't get to Maine, here's a quick tip. The best live lobsters I've ever purchased came from the Pine Point Fisherman's Co-op, also known as the Lobster Co-op, in Scarborough, Maine. We discovered the Lobster Co-op after a visit to nearby Old Orchard Beach.
You can't leave Maine without seeing dozens of signs advertising lobsters for sale--you can even buy live lobster at rest areas (but beware of the inflated prices). When I spotted the Pine Point Fisherman's Co-op building with the word LOBSTERS emblazoned on the roof in large letters, though, I had a hunch that the lobsters here might somehow surpass those I'd obtained previously from other shops and roadside stands.
I was right. Back in Connecticut, we feasted on the sweetest and most delicious lobster I've ever tasted. We always opt for the 1- to 1.25-pound "chicken" lobsters. Lobsters over two pounds, while admittedly tempting, can sometimes be tough and less tasty.
I'm sure that freshness had a lot to do with the quality of the lobsters. There are about 25 boats that participate in the co-op, and in addition to operating the retail outlet in Scarborough, these hard-working lobstermen also sell lobsters, clams and mussels direct to consumers via the lobstercoop.com Web site. If you can't get to Maine and want to order lobsters for delivery, the co-op's prices are very cheap in comparison to other online outlets. As of June 2014, 1-pound lobsters were priced at $7.95, plus overnight shipping charges.
It's good to know that online ordering is available. Even though bringing lobster home helps, it's still easy to miss Maine... and to crave more lobster... after you've consumed the last morsel.
What You Need to Know About the Pine Point Fisherman's Co-op
Hours: The Lobster Co-op is generally open to the public from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. daily. Weather conditions can affect operating hours, selection and prices. You can always call ahead, particularly if you need to place a large order.
Directions: From US Route 1 in Scarborough, turn onto Route 9 West/Pine Point Road. In about three miles, after passing the Clambake Restaurant, turn left, then make an immediate right onto King Street. The Pine Point Fisherman's Co-op is located at 96 King Street.