Catherine Schmitt's blog

The Downeast Fisheries Trail

Yesterday I joined my colleague Natalie Springuel and our partners in eastern Maine to officially launch the Downeast Fisheries Trail. The 45 sites on the trail, in Hancock and Washington counties, highlight the region's maritime heritage.

Alewife season

Zeb Woodbury and friend fish alewives out of Seven Mile Stream

There are fish in these rivers.

In the Kennebec, the Penobscot, the rivers in between and either side, the alewives are running.

Fish Market Afternoon

On a recent cloudy April afternoon, Jamie Johnson was up to his elbows in sole, black bass, and halibut. Johnson is a manager at Jess’s Market, a busy seafood supplier to the Midcoast region. Johnson married into this family fish market business, but his knife skills and product familiarity suggest he’s found his calling.

Cooking with Sea Vegetables

Today's post is from Sarah Redmond, our new resident seaweed expert, who recently attended a “Cooking with Sea Vegetables” event at Five Seasons Cooking School, a small demonstration kitchen set up in the home of Lisa Silverman, a whole foods chef, cooking teacher, and wellness coach.

The New Maine Seafood Guide

I’m posting this from the 37th annual Maine Fishermen’s Forum, THE annual gathering of Maine’s fishing industry. Sea Grant helped start the forum in 1976, and we’ve had a role in the event ever since. This year we are hosting seminars on seaweed, shellfish aquaculture, Trade Adjustment Assistance for lobstermen, ocean wind power, and ocean acidification.

A Sweet, Short Shrimp Season

david gardner selling shrimp on the roadside


A few weeks ago I promised more information on buying and preparing Maine shrimp. Well, waddya know the season ended last friday. So, for those of you lucky enough to have snagged a final pound (or two, or three...), I'll offer some final words until next year.

On the seaweed scene

With the addition of Sarah Redmond, our new marine extension associate, we are fast expanding our research and extension into seaweed aquaculture in Maine.

Ice & Smelt

I haven't yet been smelt fishing this year, but now that it seems cold enough for the rivers to actually freeze, I'm getting anxious. Rainbow smelt are a native, sea-run species that are good to eat (the fresher the better) and fun to catch--at night, in a shack suspended above a frozen tidal river, warmed by a rusty wood stove and whatever you may have brought to drink. You can find cleaned smelts in fish markets and some grocery stores this time of year, but why not catch your own?

With Northern shrimp, timing is everything

Shrimp season is upon us, and with big cuts in catch limits, winter-hungry souls should waste no time getting their share. That’s what I was attempting to do a few weeks ago, when I stopped by a Portland fish market to pick up a few pounds of Pandalus borealis.

The Maine Oyster Trail

photo courtesy B. Scully

Earlier this month, I joined my Sea Grant colleagues from around the Northeast on a tour of Matunuck Oyster Farm & Bar in South Kingstown, Rhode Island. I had met the oysterman, Perry Raso, last June, and was excited to see his farm. I was also interested to see whether and how his operation might be different from those I’d seen in Maine.

Seafood Splash

crowd in ocean gateway event spaceOur friends at Gulf of Maine Research Institute and Maine Aquaculture Association successfully kicked off this year’s Harvest on the Harbor with a mid-day seafood event featuring “lesser-known, yet abundant and w

Oyster Fest 2011

A great time had by all at the eleventh annual Pemaquid Oyster Festival on Sunday.

Information about Maine's sustainable seafood

cover of Maine Policy Review food issueThe new issue of Maine Policy Review is a special issue all about food. It is the journal's largest issue ever, perhaps a testament to the importance and interest in the economy and environment of food.

Smoked Salmon, and Other Side of the Road Seafood

Fresh Crabmeat.
Live Lobster.
Cherrystones, Mussels, Clams.

The hand-made signs that decorate the roadsides of downeast Maine are clues to the region’s seafood industry, an independent and enterpreneurial collage of individuals and families who dig for clams and worms, collect periwinkles, dredge for scallops, rake seaweed, trap lobsters and crabs, and tend salmon.

Scup vs. Tilapia: The Seafood Knowledge Economy II

One of the highlights of Day 3 of the Baird Symposium on Sustainable Seafood was the scup versus tilapia challenge. Tilapia is a freshwater, farm-raised fish that has skyrocketed in popularity in the last decade due to its low cost and ease of production (it is an herbivore and is raised in land-based ponds and tanks).

A Seafood Knowledge Economy

This week is the 10th annual Ronald C. Baird Sea Grant Science Symposium in Rhode Island.

Live at the Farmer's Market: Crabs

Last Saturday at the Orono Farmer’s Market, the Lobster Shack had a crate of live Jonah crabs for $1 apiece. Crabs are rarely sold live in Maine; crabmeat is the dominant product. I was so excited I forgot to ask where they were from.

Elvers, Part I: Midnight on the Union River

Last night Beth Bisson and I went down to Ellsworth to catch up with elver dealer Bill Sheldon.

Fried Smelt and other Rights of Spring

On friday, I visited the Downeast Salmon Federation for their annual Smelt Fry celebration. Director Dwayne Shaw gave a tour of the salmon hatchery, where staff and volunteers raise salmon fry for stocking in the Pleasant River.

Blushing scallops

At the March 12 Orono Farmer's Market, I picked up half a pound of fresh scallops from the Lobster Shack truck (as well as some Stonington crab meat and one lobster, but that's another story). Some of the scallops had a peachy-pink hue, which I knew was a natural tint, thanks to Marine Extension Team member Dana Morse.

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