Don't look now, but it's not too early to start thinking about Valentine's Day presents. And if you have a lobster lover in your life, I have a gift idea to pass your way. Think about getting them the 2014 Lobstermen's Calendar, entitled "Heroes of the Sea."
Am I suggesting you forget about getting the usual candy/flowers/bling? No. I would like you to live to see another Valentine's Day. But you could supplement those gifts with this calendar, which promotes the sustainability of lobstering and offers profiles of the 12 lobstermen photographed for the calendar.
The full-color calendar is the brainchild of Christina Ferranti-Clift, who works in the lobster industry on the processing side. There are plenty of lobster lovers, she says, but too few of them know anything about how lobsters are harvested or about the people who catch them.
"People love lobster and eat it. But they think nothing beyond the fact that it's delicious, and not about the person harvesting it," Ferranti-Clift says. "There are 30,000 to 40,000 lobstermen across North America. They have a great story to tell. And I think people want to know more and more where their food is coming from."
The calendar is a joint project of U.S. and Canadian lobstermen's associations. "You hear a lot in the media and press about Maine lobster being pitted against Canada," Ferranti-Clift says. But this year, she says, you see U.S. and Canadian lobster industry organizations attending the same meetings together, and sharing concerns about the same issues.
"Harvesters in Canada, Massachusetts, Cape Cod all have the same issues regardless of geography," she says. Hence, lobster industry associations on both sides of the border supported the idea for a calendar spotlighting lobstermen in both countries.
Project partners include the Atlantic Lobster Sustainability Foundation, the Lobster Council of Canada, the Lobster Institute, the Maine Lobstermen's Association, the Maine Lobster Council, the Massachusetts Lobstermen's Association and The Lobster Academy. A portion of the profits from the calendar, which costs $22, is divided up equally to the partner organizations. However, she says the organizations are more interested in the calendar's ability to educate consumers about lobstering and the people who do it.
The calendar shares the stories of each of the lobstermen profiled. The calendar's pages feature three Maine lobstermen, four from Massachusetts, and five from Atlantic Canada. The project partner organizations suggested the fishermen the calendar showcases.
"Fishermen are shy, but in all regards they were more than happy to tell their stories for the good of their industry," Ferranti-Clift says.
The 2014 calendar is the first one and even though it hasn't been a big seller thus far, a 2015 calendar is in the works, Ferranti-Clift says. For more information about the calendar, visit the Heroes of the Sea website.
Photo: The 2014 Lobstermen's Calendar "Heroes of the Sea"; Heroes of the Sea/Joe Greene