Downeast Dayboat’s fishermen work along the rocky coast of Maine during the coldest, windiest months of the year. Regulations allow fishing only on certain days each week, but Mother Nature doesn’t always cooperate, and sometimes they just can’t get out safely. I try to buy on Tuesdays with Wednesday as a backup but occasionally weather issues make that impossible. Occasionally I buy on Monday or Thursday. I always ship within 24 hours of harvest. You’ll get an automatically-generated e-mail once your scallops have been shipped, and they’ll arrive the following day or the day after, depending on which shipping option you choose and what part of the country you’re in (“Economy” often arrives within one day in the Northeast).
Scallops are sealed in Ziplock bags and shipped in Styrofoam containers with frozen gel packs (the frozen gel packs keep the scallops cold, but the scallops arrive fresh, not frozen). They’re shipped via UPS or Federal Express air or ground service, depending on where they’re going and the delivery option you select.
All packages are shipped with “no signature required.” They will be left wherever UPS or Fed Ex usually leaves your packages. You may include special delivery instructions, but I can’t guarantee that the courier will abide by them.
All packages come with storage information, but here are the basics: put them in the coldest part of your fridge and eat within 7 days of the harvest date (the harvest date is written on each package). The colder they are, the longer they’ll stay fresh so I actually bury the bag in a bowl of ice (MAKE SURE THE BAG IS SEALED – you don’t want melting ice leaking into the bag). If you’re not going to use them within 7 days of harvest, I recommend freezing them.
Scallops are packaged in Ziplock freezer bags so you can actually just place the whole bag (minus any you’ve sampled) in your freezer. I DO NOT recommend freezing them individually as you might do with berries. Exposure to air causes freezer burn, and one of the reasons scallops freeze so well is that their texture allows you to squish them together so they’re less exposed to air.
Bear in mind the “fresh” scallops you buy in grocery stores are often more than 12 days old. I prefer to eat my scallops within 7 days of the harvest date (the harvest date is printed on every bag). If I’m not going to eat them within a week, I freeze them. I eat scallops all year round and have enjoyed scallops that were stored in the freezer for over a year, although the FDA recommends scallops be frozen for no more than “3-6 months”
Maine’s Department of Marine Resources has controls in place to ensure scallops are fished responsibly. ALL Maine scallops are sustainably harvested. Downeast Dayboat fishermen fish in high-energy environments where the top few centimeters of sediment are regularly disturbed by tides and storms and modern scallop drags are designed to minimize bottom contact.
Divers produce less than 5 percent of Maine sea scallops, which means they produce less than one tenth of one percent of all US sea scallops. Many (most) scallops labeled “diver-caught” are actually drag-caught scallops that someone has labeled “diver scallops” to command a premium price.
Harvest method does not impact flavor or texture. Perpetuating the “diver scallop” myth does a great disservice to both fishermen and consumers. My goal is to differentiate all Maine scallops. Our cold, clean nutrient-rich waters produce better-tasting scallops to begin with, our fishermen bring them to shore within hours of harvest, and I get them to you quickly.