May 30, 2014
You can go to a farmers market and pick up a rump roast or pork loin straight from the local farm that raised the animal. At the same market, or at times in the produce aisle at a grocery store, you can pick up tomatoes and cucumbers, and know where they were picked within a few dozen acres.
But try to do the same with fresh Maine seafood, outside of the ubiquitous lobster, and you won’t have much luck. The locally caught seafood that makes it to market is often too far removed from the fishermen who hauled it in – they just aren’t able to sell their product in the same way that farmers can.
But that can change, and it has to change, if Maine is going to realize the full potential of its fishery and build on the state’s reputation for local food.
Mainers want to eat local food, as long as it is easily available. A survey conducted by the Muskie School of Public Service and released last week as part of the Maine Food Strategy initiative found that almost 80 percent of respondents would choose Maine-produced food over an alternative.
Tellingly, 64 percent of them choose local food not because of health or freshness but out of a desire to support local businesses.