December 17, 2020 (Stonington, Maine) – “Farmed sea scallops from Maine.” That has a nice ring to it and now consumers will have some expert culinary guidance on how to prepare these delicious shellfish. Recipe Ideas for Farmed Sea Scallops. The Whole Story is a new cookbook released today co-authored by local fisherman Marsden Brewer and natural history writer Marnie Reed Crowell, both Stonington residents. CEI announced the release of the publication as part of a three-year initiative funded by the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research to further develop scallop farming efforts in the state of Maine.
A lifelong commercial fisherman, Brewer has experimented with enhancing local scallop stocks by collecting wild seed, protecting it from predators and eventually releasing it to the wild, for the past 20 years. “Once we figured out how to get the seed through the larval and juvenile stages, we decided to take it a few steps further,” said Brewer.
Maine has benefitted from a long history of cultural and scallop-rearing tech transfer exchanges with Aomori Prefecture in northern Japan. This has included sharing information and insights into fisheries, renewable energy practices, art, culture and education with its “sister state” of Aomori Prefecture since 1994. In 2016, Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI) led a trip to Aomori for Maine fishermen and sea farmers to learn firsthand the technical aspects of farming sea scallops. Marsden and son Bob were on the trip and have put their firsthand experience to good use.
Hugh Cowperthwaite, Senior Program Director, Fisheries and Aquaculture, Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI), who led the group to Aomori after several years of relationship building and planning, said, “Marsden and Bob are true pioneers in farming scallops. When we visited Japan in 2016, I knew the wheels were turning in their heads. To see their progress today is truly inspiring! It’s not easy to implement new farming techniques from the other side of the globe but the Brewers’ work is so important for the future of Maine’s fishing and aquaculture industry.”
“When we saw what the Japanese have done to commercialize scallop farming, we were blown away. They have been sustainably growing, harvesting and perfecting the grow out techniques for scallops for close to 100 years. There’s no reason we can’t be doing the same thing here in Maine” said Bob Brewer. Marsden and Bob formed PenBay Farmed Scallops in 2017 and have been selling ever since.
Dana Morse, Extension Associate with the Maine Sea Grant Program, has provided technical assistance to Marsden and his son, Bob, for several years. “They have come a long way and are clearly in it for the long haul,” said Morse. “They have exhibited a lot of time and dedication to developing a high-end product.”
When local resident and natural history writer Marnie Reed Crowell heard of the Brewers’ efforts, she quickly embarked on a personal mission. “Farmed scallops are relatively new to Maine and I wanted to help get the word out on how to prepare them,” she said. “If we want to develop markets, consumers and chefs need to know what’s possible from a culinary standpoint.” Crowell scanned the globe for modern and traditional dishes from Spain, Portugal, Italy, France, Greece, The Middle East, Turkey, Lebanon, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, Australia, Tasmania, New Zealand, Norway, Asia and of course New England. “There are so many ways to enjoy scallops of various sizes and umami pairings with other seafood are endless.”
Brewer, Crowell and Cowperthwaite worked with Maine Authors Publishing & Custom Museum Publishing Inc. located in Thomaston with design and printing. Recipe Ideas for Farmed Sea Scallops: The Whole Story includes a foreword by Master Chef Barton Seaver and includes accolades from Sam Hayward, chef-partner, Fore Street restaurant in Portland. A limited run of 200 copies of the 107-page full color spiral bound publication and information on purchasing live scallops are available for sale by contacting PenBay Farmed Scallops through their website https://www.penbayfarmedscallops.com/
The publication was funded with support from CEI, Maine Technology Institute, Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, Maine Sea Grant Program Development Funds and Maine Community Foundation.
Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI) helps to grow good jobs, environmentally sustainable enterprises and shared prosperity in Maine and in rural regions across the country by integrating financing, business and industry expertise, and policy solutions. CEI envisions a world in which communities are economically and environmentally healthy, enabling all people, especially those with low incomes, to reach their full potential. More at www.ceimaine.org.