Who We Are
About Calendar Islands Maine Lobster Company
It was the spring of 2009, and lobstermen on Chebeague, a postage stamp of an island in Casco Bay off the coast of Maine, were in the boatyard getting ready to launch their boats for the new lobster fishing season. The conversation sounded much the same as it has for hundreds of years, speculations were offered as to the weather, favorite types of bait, and the size of the catch that the new season would bring. Only this time, the conversation took an unexpected turn. These Maine lobstermen decided to embark on a new and uncharacteristic venture.
The lobster fishing fleet on Chebeague had started their own company five years earlier. They were selling their catch to lobster dealers and other wholesale customers, but they were frustrated by how little they were involved in the end sale of the lobsters they put so much pride into producing. This particular afternoon Ernie Burgess, a sixty year old lobsterman from the island, was telling a group how unbelievably good his mother’s lobster stew was. He recalled his family’s neighbor, Ray Hamilton, was lobster fishing well into his nineties. “I’m pretty sure it was my mother’s lobster stew that kept him going.” That afternoon the guys decided they wanted to let the rest of the world in on their local treasure. “What if, instead of selling all our lobsters to dealers, we offer Maine lobster using the kind of lobster recipes that have been passed around the Islands for generations, and some new gourmet types too?” The guys knew how to catch great Maine Lobster, but they decided they could use some help perfecting and producing recipes. So… they called some of their friends who loved Maine lobster and gourmet food. Jonathan King and Jim Stott, the owners of Stonewall Kitchen, were among the foodies who took an interest in the project and a stake in the new company. And so an unexpected partnership began: fishermen and foodies, boots and aprons, working together.
Getting independent lobstermen to agree on anything was usually next to impossible, but the intriguing idea of starting a company that managed the entire process, from hauling the lobsters to distributing gourmet meals, owned and operated by lobstermen and gourmets, began to take hold. They agreed on a name for the company: Calendar Islands Maine Lobster. They were on a roll!
Calendar Islands was the name given to our home waters back in the 1700s. One of the first European explorers observed that there seemed to be a different island in the bay for every day of the year. In actuality, there are somewhere between 150 and 200 islands, depending on the tide, dotting the bay. Some of the islands are completely left to nature while others support vibrant year round communities. Many of our lobstermen live on Chebeague Island while others live on neighboring islands and in nearby coastal towns.
The appeal of being in control of the entire process, from the sea to the table, was strong, and the independent-minded lobstermen saw the great potential this idea offered. Our lobstermen are each small businessmen that own our company. Today there are 39 boats and counting. Good ideas have a way of sprouting wings.
Maine lobstermen are happy because they can control their own destinies, and get a fair value for their catch while preserving a maritime heritage that spans centuries.
Consumers are happy because they get the pick of the crop of the finest lobsters in the world, and enjoy gourmet Maine Lobster dishes year-round, the likes of which they may have never experienced. Traditional Maine recipes were generally available only along the coast of New England, in homes and restaurants. Now, Calendar Island Maine Lobster brings these time-honored meals to homes around the country and the world.
We invite you to take a few moments to learn about the national treasure that is Maine Lobster and the people that are behind this unique company.
Calendar Islands Maine Lobster Company is dedicated to providing our customers with the most delectable, gourmet Maine Lobster fare from our island world of tide, salt, and sea. Owned by 38 dedicated Maine lobstermen and experienced gourmets our company has created an exciting marriage of culinary distinction and the Maine lobster fishery’s more than 100-year history of tradition, quality, conservation, and sustainability. Consumers of our gourmet lobster meals can dine guilt-free, knowing that the Maine Lobster is harvested sustainably, ensuring the future of both the lobster and the lobster fishing way of life.
Maine Lobster is renowned for being the finest lobster in the world. Its unique texture and sweet meat have made it the most sought after lobster meat for over a century. Once available only along the New England coast, historic advances in transportation, the railroads and eventually planes, made possible the delivery of fresh lobsters almost anywhere in the world. And, gourmet enthusiasts around the globe quickly boosted the demand for fine Maine Lobster.
At Calendar Islands Maine Lobster, we are proud to be part of a generations-old fishing tradition with a strong island ethic. Many of us come from families with a long history of lobster fishing and have been on the sea for decades. Our lobstermen have built lives around a boat and the lure of the sea. Our boats are named after mothers and fathers, wives and children. Each of the lobsters we harvest is hand selected, meeting stringent guidelines designed to insure quality and sustainability. The lives of our fishermen run in harmony with the sea and the seasons, all in the hope of providing a truly delicious reward called Maine Lobster.
Calendar Islands’ dedication and pride now extend beyond just our boats and fishing; it infuses every aspect of our gourmet lobster meal production. We have partnered with culinary experts to create delicious dishes building on the traditional selections Maine is known for. Maine’s unique lobster cuisine is among the most celebrated in the country and we are excited for you to taste what Maine dining is all about!
Our fine lobster selections make every dining occasion a special one, showing loved ones and friends they deserve only the best. Further still, you will be supporting our community’s maritime heritage, and making a responsible choice that respects our environment and the inherent link to the natural world. Enjoy!