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Irene's Shellfish Allergy

Hurricane mania gripped the East Coast over the weekend. Here in Manhattan, we either evacuated or hunkered down with a few wine bottles and steaks. Despite flooded basements or power outages, we returned to work on Monday.

But for the fishing community up and down the Atlantic, the impact is far more serious. “Returning to work on Monday” for these fishermen and women is a lot harder when your livelihood is dependent on the very ocean that surged all weekend.

As Lot18’s Gourmet Food Specialist, my first email on Monday morning was to Jack Rosberg, husband of Cal Hancock, the proprietress of Hancock Gourmet Lobster Co. I wanted to check in after the storm, and to check on our members’ lobster rolls.

“The impact on the local fishing community was dramatic,“ says Jack. Lobstermen and women follow their prey, which feed on fish close to shore in the warm summer months. While it’s dramatically easier than trekking 40 miles out in the Atlantic across the thrashing winter seas for lobster, summer trapping has its own hazards.

This weekend, lobstermen had two options: risk leaving their traps out to catch the valuable crustaceans, or spend days pulling them in. A lobsterman can set up to 800 traps; it’s no quick chore. They’re not cheap, either. Each trap costs $300. And, it’s peak season.

It was a tough weekend. A 34-foot lobster boat sank in Cundy’s Harbor, the country’s oldest lobster community where Hancock Gourmet is located, and many lobster traps were damaged or washed away to sea.

Fortunately, these bottom-dwelling creatures aren’t affected by the storms. The supply isn’t affected; it’s our ability to catch the tasty crustaceans. The nearly one hundred lobstermen and women serving Hancock Gourmet Lobster are already assessing the damage and resetting what traps are left.

And Jack wasn’t the only person we reached out to. We’ve also called our members who ordered from Hancock Gourmet Lobster, to hold orders for members who lost power. We love these products and we want you to enjoy them, free of hurricane-related worries.

Rest assured, Hurricane Irene won’t stop your fresh lobster rolls from arriving, just as delicious as ever.

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