Remember my friend, Gloria, from my last post? She is the reason we don't eat Atlantic salmon. For many years, she has been an activist, steadfastly protecting the interests of local fishermen by protesting Nova Scotia's salmon farms. Please watch "Salmon Wars" if you're unaware of why this is important. But be warned: You'll probably never buy Atlantic salmon again. (It's all farmed.)
Through her work, my friend has earned the respect and favor of high level representatives in both government and industry. One of her allies (and a great fan of hers) is Stewart Lamont, owner of Tangier Lobster, a major live lobster exporter to international markets.
When Gloria learned our route would take us by their headquarters on the Eastern Shore, she suggested she might be able to arrange a facility tour. Would we like that? Yes, please. That would be unique and interesting!
What we got was much more. I swear we were given the royal treatment that's generally reserved for big time buyers from across the world! Our personal plant tour was followed by a delicious lobster lunch in an ocean-side gazebo, and two hours of the company president's undivided attention. After lunch Stewart was meeting with a buyer who had flown in from China. So you can imagine how honored we were (as tourists, actually) to receive such special treatment. It's a testament to just how respected and appreciated my friend, Gloria, is!
We learned a lot about lobsters and the nature and challenges of buying, holding, and shipping them. But I'm sure you're waiting to hear if we learned anything useful for frugal travelers? In fact we did.
We learned that, when available, the best value lobster to purchase is one with a missing claw. The price per lb will be slightly less and the meat versus shell ratio is higher. There is no such thing as a sports fishing license or season for catching your own lobster so, it's a good thing we didn't grab that lobster we saw when swimming last week; it could have resulted in a big fine. We also learned that an average lobster is 12 years old to be legal size and the worldwide demand for lobster is increasing faster than the supply. So we can expect the price of lobster to continue to rise. There's no sense waiting - get your fill of lobster now!
When another Ontario friend who has moved back to Nova Scotia learned that we were touring the east coast, she extended an invitation we couldn't refuse: "Come to my family's campout weekend. It's at my uncle's place. He lives 'off the grid' on a cape with a gorgeous ocean view. And he's the kind of guy who I'm sure Randy will love! We'll show you a great down-east-style good time - guaranteed!"
To top it off, our host (Sherry's uncle) is an amazing singer, guitarist, and song writer. This, in true Nova Scotia style, meant impromptu kitchen parties (jam sessions) any time of day or night.
Both these events - the lobster lunch, and the family party, were serendipitous and unplanned. Yet they're certain to be highlights of this trip we'll never forget.
Days on the road on this trip: 23
Total camping costs to date: $93
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