BY KENDRA MURRAY
Situated in the back of a brick plaza on Route Six in Westport, it’s easy enough to drive by Revolution Lobster without even noticing it. However, if you have been driving by, you’re missing out! If you’re looking for sustainably caught local seafood you can feel good about eating, Revolution Lobster is the fish market for you!
Although Revolution Lobster has only been open at its current location since November of 2013, owner Tim Field has been fishing with his father since he was a child. After graduating high school in 2003, Tim decided to go into the fishing business full time and worked on draggers and scallopers for several years. Tim saved up while working and eventually purchased his own boat in 2006. The Fields began selling wholesale to Lees Wharf in Westport, but during the economic downturn of 2008 took their business to the streets and sold their lobster off the back of a truck on Route 177. They also sold lobster to local restaurants and included their lobster as an additional item for the Silverbrook Farm – Dartmouth’s CSA. Store manager Lauren Bernardo said that people loved the idea of the CSA, though it was difficult for the business to manage with each lobster being a different weight, which affected weekly pricing.
Currently the Fields own two lobster boats, the Revolution and the Green Dragon. The names of these boats have patriotic roots; the Green Dragon was a tavern used for meetings during the Revolutionary War and was where the Boston Tea Party was planned. Each boat is catching lobster, rock crabs, and sand crabs. Since the whole catch is brought in and sold at the Revolution Lobster storefront, customers often have a choice between hard and soft (or new) shell lobsters. Lauren explained that hard shell lobster haven’t recently molted so they have reached their capacity inside their shells. Soft shell lobsters are freshly molted and are still growing to fill their new shell. Because of this, soft shell lobsters do yield less meat, but are easier to crack open.
Revolution Lobster is part of the Massachusetts Commonwealth Quality Program (CQP). CQP identifies products that are grown, harvested, and processed in Massachusetts using practices that are safe, sustainable, and don’t harm the environment. Being a part of this program means that growers and harvesters are using best-management practices to ensure safe products and are meeting strict requirements. Lauren expressed how difficult it can be to sell Massachusetts lobster when up to 80% of lobster sold in America comes from Maine. When Maine lobster floods the market and brings down prices, it’s challenging for Massachusetts lobstermen to get a fair price for their product. Massachusetts has stricter requirements for catching lobster than other states as well. We are the only state required to use sinking-groundline, meaning that the string connecting lobster pots must be buried under the seafloor, rather than left floating to prevent whales from becoming entangled.
In addition to lobster and crabs, Revolution Lobster is a fully stocked seafood market. Almost all of their fish comes from New Bedford, including cod, haddock, bass, and scallops. The scallops are dry, meaning they have not been soaked in phosphates to increase their weight, which is (unfortunately) becoming commonplace in the seafood industry. All of their shrimp is wild-caught in the Gulf of Mexico, which is also becoming difficult to find, as up to 90% of shrimp eaten in this country is imported. This imported shrimp often comes from unsustainable shrimp farms in Southeast Asia where there are few regulations put in place regarding health and safety. On top of health and safety and violations, farmed shrimp can travel up to 8,000 miles from farm to plate. Wild-caught is the way to go! All of the salmon sold at Revolution Lobster is also wild-caught; the deep red color of the flesh is a clear indicator this is not the farmed-raised stuff you’re used to seeing in the grocery store.
Revolution Lobster also has some local oysters for sale, grown in Westport at Riptide Oysters. Riptide has only recently received their wholesaling license. Prior to that, Revolution had to get oysters from larger distributors, rather than the oyster farmer. Because of this, oysters were coming from wherever they could find them, including Westport…Connecticut. It’s great to see Westport, MA oysters instead! Next spring Revolution Lobster and Riptide Oysters will be partnering and opening a great new location on Lees Wharf.
It is amazing how many people are living in Southeastern Massachusetts that don’t know the taste of fresh seafood. Lauren was telling me that people will shop at the market and come back just blown away at how delicious their lobster was, how great their scallops were, and how flaky and fresh their cod was. If you haven’t been purchasing fresh seafood, now is the time to start! Revolution Lobster is open daily 10am-6pm and 10am-3pm on Sundays. They are located at 655 State Rd (Rte. 6) #108, Westport, MA.