For over four decades, Bernie Feeney has dedicated himself to the rough, demanding, and risky industry of lobster fishing in Massachusetts. Bernie is not the typical crusty sailor - he is most definitely a people's person who enjoys talking with his customers (and Our Wicked Fish!) about the importance of supporting our local seafood industry. While he just recently sold his lobster boat and stepped down as president of the Massachusetts Lobstermen's Association, he is still very involved with our tasty crustaceans. To make sure the South Shore has access to locally caught lobsters and fresh fish at a reasonable price, Bernie drives into the thicket of Boston every Friday and every Saturday, picks up the quality lobsters from the same three boats and brings them back to the customers waiting for him in the parking lot of 1095 Bedford Street in Whitman. Whitman knows him as "The Lobster Guy".
The Lobster Guy
Bernie's business, The Lobster Guy, occurs every Friday and Saturday from 3pm-7pm from Mother’s Day-New Years. He pulls into the parking lot with a bright red refrigerated trailer full of live local lobsters, Dry Sea Scallops, as well as fish flown into Boston Many customers are also there to buy the prepared seafood items and specialty seafood soups. For those who want dinner to be a Surf n’ Turf experience, The Lobster Guy even carries large rib-eye steaks
Our Wicked Fish, Inc., believes that people of the South Shore should know more about The Lobster Guy and why his products are worth the extra trip after your regular Friday and Saturday supermarket shopping.
Lobsters from boston
Bernie buys from the same three boats. Bernie's customers appreciate that he's picky about his lobsters-he won't sell what he wouldn't buy and eat himself.
How do you tell a good lobster from a bad lobster?
Bernie explains, "The firmness of the shell, its size and its weight. I have guys that will come in with a thousand new shells and they look gorgeous! But you go to pick one up, and there's nothing in them but water. The shell is thin and you can squeeze them. That's not a retail unit ... Depending upon on how soon it gets caught after it sheds determines the quality of the product. If it gets to walk around the bottom and it gets to feed, the muscle develops, the shell develops, it starts to fill out. It now becomes what they call a firm. And a good quality firm is pretty much what I sell when the new shells come out...Then my customers are happy because when they break it open they don't find that a claw this big [expands the distance between his thumb and index finger] has a piece of meat this big [moves his fingers together so there's an inch in between]...They're getting something for their money... I have other people that want the new shells, older people especially, because they can just get the scissors and cut into them-they don't have to get the hammer out.''
Bernie buys his swordfish from Boston Sword and Tuna. This company has two boats that go out to catch these prized fish. Swordfish season is the end of summer and throughout fall in Massachusetts. Swordfish is graded like homework, there's C product, B, A and A+ Bernie always charges $12.99/lb for swordfish, will have larger and smaller cuts for his customers and only buys A+ graded. Even though it is a little more expensive on his end, he says it's worth it for his customers.
Faroe Island Atlantic Salmon, not Chilean
The Lobster guys provides Faroe Island salmon when it is available. Bernie makes sure his customers know what they are and aren't getting for their money.
"Chilean salmon is 6 months to market...[Salmon] need to swim, they need to develop muscle and flesh and that's what gives you texture and flavor... European salmon is 2 years to market with no growth hormones and no antibiotics. With the Chilean, stuff from China..people don't realize where this stuff is coming from! They're filled with growth hormones and are fed anything they'll eat just to fatten them up and get them to market...people say 'Jeez, I'm seeing salmon at Market Basket for 3.99/lb' and it's obvious where it's coming from. It says farm raised but no one will tell them its Chilean. I could buy Chilean for $2.25/lb but I'm paying $6.85/lb instead.'
"Since the codfish closure, my customers ask 'Where's my codfish from?' I buy Icelandic... It's flown in 2x if not 3x a week. It's a little more money...Codfish come in 1.5lb to almost 2lb fillets because Codfish have to be that big [to be harvested] and I try not to cut it...But when they see that big Captain's cut on the end, it's an inch and a half thick, it's like a steak! Once they buy it they're hooked. They'll never buy fish again from anyone else."
Why we’re glad there’s no haddock..
"I don't bring haddock in because there's no consistency. Some days, all I can find is frozen at sea Pacific-I don't want it! It's what they call dirty fish. It's treated with preservatives on the vessel. It's headed and gutted, then it goes to Russia or it goes to China. It is then thawed, cut again, treated again, and then put on container ships and shipped back here. I remember when I was fishing, that would be part of the bait that I would buy, and you could leave that stuff in the big cooler for a month and a half and it wouldn't rot. But that's the kind of treatment it gets, those preservatives. Just imagine consuming that."
Why Should You Get Your Fish With The Lobster Guy?
Quality. Price. Service. Customers are loyal to The Lobster Guy because he handpicks products and sells them for a fair price. Swordfish is always $12.99/lb. Live local lobsters start at $6.99/lb for 1-1.25 pounders, 2-2.5 pound lobsters are $8.99/lb, and if you're really ready to wrestle with some hefty claws, Bernie will have 2.5+pounders for $10.99/lb. With such service and value, it is not uncommon for Bernie to sell out! Go find that lobster pot and visit The Lobster Guy. Word of advice...arrive early
Bernie Feeney, The Lobster Guy 1095 Bedford Street in Whitman Massachusetts