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Sunday, October 23, 2016

Road Warriors

It's that time of year. Time for us to head Southwest. For most folks who go "somewhere else" for the winter, that means driving to the airport, hopping on a plane and arriving at your destination a few hours later.

We, of course, choose the hard way.

The 3 or so days leading up to departure are a frenzy of paperwork-change of address and paying any bills that will come due during travel dates-packing, deciding, reserving, and most of all, schlepping.

This year, 2 of my girls, aka "the Lobsterettes", will be travelling with us. My oldest daughter, Rachel, her husband Pat, and their old cat Alice, will be in their vehicle towing a trailer of their belongings. Their journey begins in Bar Harbor, Maine, where they work during the summer months. We have a meet up place planned on U.S. Route 1-The Big Apple store in Orland, Maine.

But first-there is epic schlepping!

We get up at the crack-ass, neither one of us functions without coffee! The mailboat that will deliver us to the mainland leaves the island at 8am sharp. The night before, we pack anything we plan to take. Every year I say I wont be bringing much and every year I have, in Maine terms-a shitload.

And this year, the Lobster Guy wants to bring his motorcycle. Perfect.

The stuff I am bringing gets put in the pick up, along with Biscuit, my cold weather hatin', chihuahua/somethin mix.

We gotta shut the house down for winter. That means draining pipes-toilet, dishwasher, washing machine, hot water heater, and furnace and protecting them with non toxic anti freeze. This takes some time. We most definitely want to be sure it is done correctly so we dont come back to burst pipes and ruined floors. And there's not a lot of time. So, needless to say this aspect of gettin out the door can be cause for some snappy attitudes and stress. But, we will get er done, we always do.

I will drive the pick up and he will ride his bike to the town dock. Everything in the truck will have to be schlepped down the ramp and onto the mailboat. The bike will be winched onto the boat.

We will leave our island truck at the dock for the Lobster Son to pick up and use for the winter.

I will bid Isle au Haut, my youngest daughter, Roz, her guy and my grand kids a teary goodbye and watch them wave to us from the dock until the boat rounds Kimball Island. The worst part of leaving is gonna be sayin goodbye. They have been with us in Arizona for the past 4 years, but now it's time for my granddaughter to be in kindergarten. She attends a one room schoolhouse with 4 other students, an experience we all wanted her to have. I will miss them terribly. 

My middle daughter, Ruby, her Jeep Patriot and a 3 legged cat named Gus are meeting us on the dock in Stonington. She also works in Bar Harbor during the summer and has been with us each season in Arizona. If you have been to the truck, she took your order. 

We schlepp all the stuff we brought over up the ramp and deposit it on the dock. The motorcycle gets winched off the boat. We get our mainland pick up and start the loading process. Bike first, then anything that can stand up to 4 days, (our expected travel time for 3100 miles) in the elements. Whatever's left will go in the Patriot.

Then it's off to ECS, a small country store that is also a u-haul pick up point, to grab a tow dolly for the Patriot. Ruby and Gus will make a nest in the back seat of our pick up, where I know Biscuit will end up eventually. We will hook up the Jeep, grab coffees and breakfast sandwiches and head for the Big Apple, about 40 minutes away to meet Rachel and Pat.

What are the chances this will all go as planned? We shall see. Stay tuned.


8:14 am edt 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Maine Lobster Lady Story!

This whole thing started while hauling Lobster traps aboard the "Shock Wave", my island Lobster fisherman partner, Greg's, Lobster boat. 


Oftentimes, by catch in the traps included "Maine Peekey Toe" crabs which I would save out and bring home to pick the luscious meat each evening and the next day, set out the freshly picked meat on ice in a cooler on an old Lobster crate with an empty mason jar and a cardboard "Fresh Crabmeat" sign. Each day when I returned from work aboard the boat I'd find my cooler empty and my jar full of cash-I was hooked!  IMG_0796.jpg


Nowadays Fresh Crabmeat is DOUBLE that price!


My tiny business grew to where I added several more old crates covered with a red checkered tablecloth and an umbrella stuck in the ground and offered Lobster Rolls, Crabmeat Rolls, soups, baked goods and preserves as well as fresh vegetables and flowers from my garden. 

Eventually I gave up working on the boat to stay on terra firma and tend my growing business. 

Soon folks started asking me to come to their island homes to prepare dinner parties where they could entertain their "come from away" guests without having to do the work themselves. 

There are no restaurants on Isle au Haut and this provided a novel opportunity for islanders to take their guests out to dinner without leaving home. A win, win! 

 At around the same time the only inn on the island was put up for sale and I saw an opportunity to feed my culinary longings and fill a niche that was soon to close. 

I found a gorgeous turn of the century home situated right on the water with an owner willing to let me renovate and start up a new inn business, which included a 14 seat restaurant where I could offer overnight accommodations with all meals included while still catering to the summer population as a place to take their guests for amazing 5 course dinners dinners with an equally amazing view.




My Island Inn dockside dinner table.


Little did I know then that the logistical issues of ordering and receiving supplies from the mainland, coordinating guest arrivals and departures by boat along with all the other difficulties of running a business on an offshore island were preparing me for what I now know is what I am meant to be-a Food Trucker, specifically a Maine Lobstah Roll Food Trucker! 

Changing tracks........

While visiting Greg's daughter in the Phoenix Arizona area during Christmas, we saw first hand the deprivation of all things seafood and the lightbulb went on. Knowing the Maine Lobster industry from trap to table, it seemed a no brainer to bring a taste of the best Maine has to offer in the form of Maine Lobster Rolls, along with other traditional Maine fare to the incredibly Lobster/Seafood deprived.

Winter of 2010 was spent developing a plan to do just that.

Visiting Lobster processors turned up one with a unique process which uses only wild caught, sustainable, Maine Lobster, traceable back to the boat that caught it. Bingo!

I formulated a plan to get my supply from Maine to Arizona, which is now my proprietary process, had a 16' trailer built and wrapped, applied for and got all the necessary health department permits and started applying to venues that I thought would be a good fit for my menu.  

After 8 years of operating my island inn, I closed up shop in late September of 2011 and in January of 2012, along with Greg and my 3 daughters, The Maine Lobster Lady Food Truck made her inaugural appearance at The Barrett-Jackson Classic Car Show and Auction in Sottsdale Arizona and it's been a whirlwind ever since. 


January of 2015 will mark our 4th consecutive year at this prestigious event as well as others including Scottsdale's Arabian Horse Show and The Scottsdale Festival of the Arts to name a few, even traveling to Las Vegas each spring for a large Food Truck festival!  


In addition to my Traditional Maine Lobster Roll ( which can also be ordered Connecticut Style-warm, drizzled with melted butter) my menu includes other Maine fare such as Lobster Bisque, Seafood Chowda, Lobster-Lobster Mac & Cheese, Fried Whole Belly Maine Clams, Fried Haddock Sandwiches, a wicked healthy and beautiful salad topped with Lobster, fresh veggies and fruit and my special Blueberry-Citrus Vinaigrette, Maine Blueberry Lemonade and Homemade Whoopie Pies. All menu items are scratch made right on the truck.


We have been operating seasonally in Arizona, returning to Maine for the summer months in order for Greg to keep up his Lobster fishing business while I operate a version of my Maine Lobster Lady truck on Isle au Haut. 


Check out our Arizona schedule and stop by and see us, we cant wait to see YOU! 

10:58 am est 


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