If you thought you had already celebrated National Lobster Day on June 15, you were, apparently, wrong.
U.S. Sens. Angus King and Susan Collins announced Thursday that their resolution declaring Sept. 25, 2015, the one and only official National Lobster Day had passed the evening before, when we all thought the august chamber was debating domestic policy and worrying about the Middle East.
National Lobster Day, the senators said in a joint statement, “underscores the significant role that lobsters play in supporting the economies of coastal communities across the country.”
It also will help sell more lobster, as Matt Jacobson, executive director of the Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative, freely admits.
“From a sales and marketing perspective, it’s a great date because we always have a lot of supply then,” he said, “and that is typically when, to be honest with you, our prices have kind of tapered off a bit.”
It also ensures that for people who go out to dinner on Sept. 25 in, say, Cleveland or Austin, the lobster on their plate is more likely to have come from Maine since it’s right during the state’s peak harvest, Jacobson said.
He hopes that other National Lobster Day will just go away. Why? June 15 coincides with the end of lobstering season in Canada.
“If you’re eating it on June 15, you’re eating Canadian lobster, so why are we having a National Lobster Day eating Canadian lobster?” he said.
WILL ONE OF THE TWO DATES WIN OUT?
National Lobster Day will have to share Sept. 25 with National One-Hit Wonder Day, National Comic Book Day, National Tune-Up Day and Math Story Telling Day.
Last year, Maine lobstermen landed more than 120 million pounds of lobster. The crustacean contributes more than $1 billion to the state’s economy every year.
In addition to statistics about the lobster catch and lobster economics, and in between a bunch of “whereas”-es, the actual Senate resolution notes that there was probably lobster, along with the turkey, on the first Thanksgiving table. Lobster Newburg, the resolution says, was featured on the menu at John F. Kennedy’s inaugural dinner.
Why is there also a National Lobster Day on June 15? No one really knows. Senate staffers couldn’t track down its origin, and neither could Marlo Anderson, co-founder of the National Day Calendar, which keeps track of things like National Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Day (that’s Saturday) and National Chicken Boy’s Day (Sept. 1), which celebrates a statue of a boy in Los Angeles that has a chicken head and is holding a bucket of chicken.
When Anderson, who lives in North Dakota, heard about the Senate resolution for National Lobster Day, he said it was “actually kind of cool. That’s kind of exciting.”
He said a Senate resolution for Sept. 25 would probably take precedence over celebrating Lobster Day on June 15. If, after further investigation, concrete evidence emerges for June 15 as the official date, “it would be an interesting scenario for us,” Anderson said. “We would have to take a look at that and decide what we’re going to do. It’s not unusual to have two days.”
There are, for example, two National Doughnut Days. “I think there’s two pancake days, as well,” he said.
The folks at the Kennebunk Resort Collection will celebrate both lobster days this year. The restaurants associated with the resorts celebrate many of the national food days with specials, and June 15 was no exception.
They will go back to the lobster pot Sept. 25, when Justin Walker, chef at Earth at Hidden Pond, will serve wood-fired lobster with espelette, served with miso-glazed short ribs, little-neck clams with Chinese black beans, a house-made biscuit with foie gras butter, and wood-fired carrots. The Tides Beach Club will serve lobster spring rolls, and the Lodge on the Cove will make lobster sliders.
JUST AFFECTS THIS YEAR, NOT PERMANENT
Even if Sept. 25 knocks June 15 off the National Day Calendar, the claws haven’t been put away yet. The Senate resolution applies only to this year, so Maine’s senators will have to put together another one next year, and the next, and the next. Turns out that for National Lobster Day to stick from year to year, a bill has to be passed, not just a resolution.
That’s OK with Jacobson at the lobster collaborative. What some people might view as a problem, he sees as another marketing opportunity.
“This is half tongue-in-cheek anyway,” he said. “It’s serious, but by the same token, we’d like to have a little fun with it. A bill we’re lobbying on – that’s not what we’re interested in. We’ll do a resolution every year.”
He figures that once National Lobster Day is on the National Day Calendar – and on social media – it will continually generate stories.
So much for peace in the Middle East.