Customer E-Letters 2013 - 2014


Finestkind Lobster - Winter Customer Letter February 21, 2014 3:45PM


Dear Finestkinder

Dear Finestkinders:

Hello everyone!! Just wanted to warm up your winter day with a quick announcement on our Spring Lobster Day.

2014 Spring Lobster Day

Mark your calendar and get your guest list together for Finestkind's 33rd Annual Spring Lobster Day - Saturday May 17th at Falls Church High School. Details and order cards will be mailed out the third week of March and we'll begin taking orders immediately thereafter. If you've moved or don't receive an invite, please don't hesitate to email us @ lobsterday@gmail.com or give us a call @ (703) 333-2978. We'll get a mailing out to you in a few days.

Lobster

As you can imagine or may have read, the lobster fishing season this winter has been difficult. Between limited fishing seasons in Nova Scotia and bad weather throughout the New England/Eastern Canadian region, lobstermen have been limited as to when and where they can fish. This has created a high demand for a limited number of lobster brought to market. Prices for 2013 New Year's Eve Lobsters were up $1.50 per pound over NYE 2012. And while it's still too early to tell for sure, many experts are expecting Spring 2014 lobster prices to remain well above 2013 levels. As a result, we are raising our lobster prices $.80 per pound to partially offset these additional product costs. We are hopeful that by the end of the summer, we will be able to return to our "normal" lobster pricing.

Shrimp and Clams

While inclement weather has limited the soft shell clam harvest this winter, we do not anticipate any "hangover" effect for Spring. Clam harvesting generally does not peak until May. Of course heavy precipitation during late April/early May is always a concern - but no more than any other year at this point.

Shrimp season in Maine was cancelled completely by regulators for 2014 due to a weak population. However, we buy 100% of shrimp from the Gulf of Mexico, and conditions in the Gulf of Mexico have been relatively normal this winter. The reduced supply from the Gulf of Maine is not expected to have a material effect on Gulf of Mexico wild shrimp pricing.

A Look Back in Time - Lobster Day - 1982

We'll finish our E-letter with a short story on the beginnings of Lobster Day. Many people helped Ed Rindler and his team put together the first Lobster Day. But none of the "team members" were as well known as Secretary William Cohen (former US Senator, US Representative and Secretary of Defense) and the famous Israel "Izzy" Cohen (Chairman of Giant Foods of Landover MD). Back in the early eighties, no one brought large quantities of live lobster to Washington DC. So on the first Lobster Day in 1982, Ed had to use all his creativity and contacts to make it happen. Senator Cohen of Maine was highly supportive of the idea - after all Senator William Proxmire of Wisconsin had his Cheese Day and Senator Sam Nunn of Georgia had his Vidalia Onion Day.

Once Ed put the lobster order together - he had several major challenges. Among them were "How do we transport the live lobster from Maine to DC?" and "How do we organize a Lobster Day market with tables and weighing scales, etc?". Now when you have the US Senator from Maine on your Lobster Day team - these things can get done rather easily. When told of the transportation problem, Senator Cohen directed one of his staff to arrange for the lobsters to be flown down on a plane standing by for the Senator and his staff. After all this was official State of Maine business involving its most famous delicacy. And the scales and tables - well you guessed it. Courtesy of Senator Cohen's personal friend, Izzy Cohen, Ed was put in contact with the Giant Food people. They happily lent Ed and his team their large old vegetable scales, scoops and tables to host Lobster Day.

And that was the start of something special which you are all a very big part of! Thanks for for all your support and we'll look forward to seeing you May 17th!

Chris & Margie Cobb

Finestkind Lobster



Finestkind Lobster - Summer Letter July 20, 2013 3:15PM


Dear Finestkinder

Hope you are enjoying a great summer and are staying cool.

This is our Summer Customer E-Letter from FinestKind Lobster. We'll still be sending our regular Lobster Day mailings. But we will use occasional emails to keep you up to date on new stuff, Lobster Day dates and generally what's going on in the world of Lobster, Shrimp and Clams.

Fall Lobster Day - October 26, 2013 at Falls Church High School

Our Fall Lobster Day will be held at Falls Church High School on Saturday October 26th, 2013. We'll be inside the cafeteria with various outdoor activities scheduled that weekend at the high school.

Mark your calendar and get your guest list together! We'll have your favorite sweet Live Maine Lobsters, Steamer Clams and Fresh Gulf Shrimp. Our regular mailing with order forms and return envelopes will go out the last week of August. Of course you can always print out the order form from our website Lobsterday.com and mail or fax to 703-333-2979 or call us at 703-333-2978.

Lobsters and Lobster Questions

From what we're being told by our friends in Maine, the summer of 2013 has returned to a normal lobster season. Although prices were extremely high for shippable Hard Shell Lobster this past May, prices have stabilized through the summer due to another record harvest.

Speaking of lobster shells, we've had more than a few questions about the lobster terminology of Soft Shell, Shedders and New Shells (which are fragile and not generally shippable as live lobsters) and Firm Shells and Hard Shells (which are shippable live). The markets and therefore the pricing of these two types of lobsters (non-shippable vs. shippable) are very different. At FinestKind Lobster we're concerned with the Firm Shell and Hard Shell Lobsters that can be delivered fresh and live to our customers. Here's a very brief answer for those who've asked the question:

As most of you know, lobsters must molt in order to grow. So they shed their shells each year. Just after they molt, they are soft and fragile until their new shell has hardened. This usually takes a couple of months. Young lobsters will molt several times each year. It generally takes five to seven years for a lobster to grow to legal harvesting size (1 to 1-1/4 lb.).

Once they reach this age, lobsters molt just once a year, usually during the summer. After they molt, they bury themselves in the mud to hide from their natural enemies. Each molt will expand their size by 1/4 lb. on average. As lobsters get older, they may skip years, and molt less frequently.

The lobsters we truck down from Maine are Firm and Hard Shell Quarters (1-1/4 pounders) or Deuces (approximately 2 pounders). The Quarters will shed their shells in the late Spring or Summer moving from Hard Shells to Shedders, Soft Shells or New Shells. These cannot be shipped as they will may not survive the long trip. At the end of the Summer, they will become Firm Shells and eventually become Hard Shells in the fall/early winter. The larger lobsters (i.e. the Deuces) may not molt every year.

Therefore, the Lobsters you'll be savoring this Fall Lobster Day will be the Firm Shells which are the sweetest and most tender of the year - and our personal favorites.

Shrimp and Clams

So far, we're hearing nothing but good things about this year's harvests of Gulf of Mexico Shrimp and the Ipswich Clams coming from Maine.

Lobster Lore Referrals

Thanks to all who have sent us the names of friends interested in receiving an invitation to Lobster Day! Our Fall drawing for winners of five (5) pounds of lobster will be August 10. Winners will be included in our Fall Customer mailing.

New Year's Eve Lobster Day Location

Our New Year's Eve Lobster Day will again be held at Kena Shriners in Fairfax on Tuesday, December 31st 2013.

Lobsterday.com Website

Check out our website, give us an up-vote on the Like button (at the bottom of the Home page) and send this link to any friends that enjoy fresh seafood!

Thanks again to all of our Volunteers who really make Lobster Day so enjoyable for all of our Customers!

That's all for now - Hope to see you October 26th at our Fall Lobster Day!

All the Best,

Margie & Chris Cobb

Finestkind Lobster



Finestkind Lobster - Winter Customer Letter March 6, 2013 8:45AM


Dear Finestkinder

With the SnowQuester Storm upon us, we felt you needed a Finestkind moment to warm you up!

Imagine a bright sunny Saturday afternoon in May. You've invited your friends and family over for a good old-fashioned New England style cookout. The picnic tables are set - nutcrackers, butter bowls, coleslaw, corn and rolls. People are laughing sharing good times. The sweet smell of fresh lobster is wafting from your steamer pots. Appetizers are served steamed clams with butter and grilled shrimp with cocktail sauce.

Sipping a cold one, the thought crosses your mind "Does Life Get Any Better Than This? It's Lobster Day and you're celebrating it with the people that make life special. That really is "finestkind".

Welcome to our Winter Customer E-Letter. We'll still be sending our regular Lobster Day mailings. But we will use occasional emails to keep you up to date on new stuff, Lobster Day dates and generally what's going on in the world of lobster, clams and shrimp.

Spring Lobster Day is - Saturday May 18th, 2013!

Mark your calendar, get your guest list together, tell your friends and get those nutcrackers ready for some hearty Spring lobster! Our Spring Lobster Day will be held at Falls Church High School inside the cafeteria on Saturday May 18th, 2013.

Our regular mailing with order forms and return envelopes will go out the last week of March. Of course you can always go to our website www.lobsterday.com for order forms to mail or fax, email us at lobsterday@gmail.com or give us a call at 703-333-2978.

Lobster Lore Referrals

Thanks to all who have sent us the names of friends interested in receiving an invitation to Lobster Day! Our Spring drawing for winners of five (5) pounds of lobster will be March 10. Winners names will be included in our Spring Customer mailing.

Fall and New Year's Eve Lobster Day Dates

Our Fall Lobster Day will be announced in mid-July. While generally the third Saturday in October, Falls Church High School's Homecoming Weekend has pre-empted us the past two years. Homecoming is dependent upon the Fairfax County Fall Sports schedule (not finalized until early July). Therefore, we'll announce the date by email and on our website as soon as the High School notifies us.

Our New Year's Eve Lobster Day will again be held at Kena Shriners Anek Building on Tuesday, December 31st, 2013.

Lobster

What's going on in the lobster world? Well, the Good News is there are plenty of lobsters in the Gulf of Maine. Maine lobster landings reached a record 123 million pounds in 2012.

The Bad News was 80% of the lobsters were soft-shell instead of the more normal 60-40 summer split. Shedders arrived early in 2012 and the over-supply of soft-shell lobster were sold at a loss to Canadian processing plants. Maine restaurants and supermarkets were flooded with super low priced soft-shells. Meanwhile, the high demand for shippable hard-shell lobsters around the world caused hard-shell prices to rise. Unfortunately, since Finestkind only serves the freshest hard-shells we were unable to pass on any benefits of the low soft-shell lobster prices.

Most experts attribute the increase in lobster landings to the decline of natural predators like cod, and the early shedding due to warmer water temperatures causing lobsters to lose their shells sooner. With water temperatures in 2013 remaining fairly normal, lobstermen are hoping to see a better balance this year between soft and hard-shells.

Shrimp & Clams

For shrimp, The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is predicting a slightly above average harvest this year for Gulf of Mexico Shrimp (Louisiana). Finestkind gets most of its shrimp from the federal waters off Louisiana. The shrimp boats are brought up the Mississippi Delta and unloaded at the port in Venice just southeast of New Orleans. 2013 should be another good year for Gulf shrimp.

Clams harvests are heavily dependent upon local weather and regulatory closure actions. We get our Ipswich clams from the mud and sand flats along the estuaries near Cushing, Maine. While difficult to predict, our local sources are optimistic about the 2013 clam harvest.

Lobsterday.com Website

While making a number of improvements to our website, we've delayed adding the online shopping cart feature. We just didn't have enough time to make it the best we could. Look for something later this summer.

We are adding a short form digital copy of our Spring Customer Letter to the website. This feature will make it easy for you to forward our Customer Letter to any friends or family that might be interested.

Thanks to those who have already sent in their party photos we're looking to get more featuring your delicious Finestkind Lobster Day feasts, food, friends or festivities for a party page on the site. We'd like to show others how to party like real Finestkinders! Send in your pictures and party/recipe ideas to our email address at lobsterday@gmail.com.

If you haven't been to our lobsterday.com website lately, please check it out and give us any suggestions you might have.

Protecting Your Credit Card Information

For our customers that pay by credit card, we thought you should know what we do to protect your credit card information from the time it arrives by phone, fax, or mail. We enter your order immediately into a secure payment gateway and once approved we shred the portion of your order form that contains your card number and expiration date. We maintain no credit card information on site either in paper or digital form.

We'd Love to Hear Your Customer Voice

Any and all suggestions are welcome on how we can improve the Finestkind customer experience. Two suggestions that we've heard more than once are (1) adding a Summer Lobster Day in late August and (2) confirming all customer orders by email when received. We're working on the email confirmation feature - that should be ready later this summer. Please feel free to send us an email, drop us a note or give us a call if you feel strongly about these or any other recommendations.

Finally, I'd like to again give a Special Thanks to all of our Volunteers who've made Lobster Day what it is today!

That's all for now. Hope to see you at our Spring Lobster Day!

All the Best,

Margie & Chris Cobb

Finestkind Lobster



Finestkind Lobster - Summer Customer Letter July 18, 2012 1:15PM


Dear Finestkinder

Hope you are enjoying a great summer!

This is probably a first in our history - a customer email from FinestKind Lobster to its loyal customers. After thirty-one years we thought it was about time we begin communicating via the internet. Of course we'll still be sending out our regular Lobster Day mailings. But we will use occasional emails to keep you up to date on new stuff, Lobster Day dates and generally what's going on in the crustacean world.

Lobstas

Speaking of those little goodies, you may have noticed that a portion of our Spring Lobsters came from Canada - both Nova Scotia and Quebec provinces - identified by their unique tags. Dr. Lobsta, Ed Rindler told me when we first bought FinestKind that the lobstermen have a saying "If it ain't the bait - it's the weather". Well this year it was the weather. And while some of these little guys undoubtedly crawled across the Canadian border from the great State of Maine, the unusually warm winter required us to go beyond our usual supply network to get enough "hardshell" Lobsters for our Spring Lobster Day. The warm winter caused water temperatures to rise earlier than usual. Normally, Maine Lobsters begin molting (shedding their hardshell) in late May and early June. But they don't carry a calendar, so Lobsters go by water temperature change - moving the molting process up by 30-40 days this year. While approximately the same number of Lobsters were harvested by early May - over 80% were "softshells" in the Gulf of Maine. "Softshells" don't travel well and can't make it down to DC. So we decided to get some help from our Canadian lobstermen and made up the difference. Incidentally, while local prices of live lobster in Maine were, and continue to be near all time lows, the prices of shippable hardshell lobsters were higher than normal this past Spring. Hopefully, prices will stabilize by Fall.

Clams

While the Lobsters were basking in warmer than normal waters - the Clams were drenched in heavy rains which flooded several prime zones during the first two weeks of May. A few of our customers commented on the size of this Spring's steamer clams. Our Clam supplier in Cushing, said that we generally get the smaller Steamers from two river beds that were closed down. Therefore his diggers had to harvest from secondary zones where the Clams are larger. This is not a normal occurrence but does happen from time to time. Again - that darn weather!

Change in Fall Lobster Day to October 13, 2012

Due to an unforeseen scheduling conflict with Falls Church High School, our Fall Lobster Day will be held on Saturday October 13th, 2012. Incidentally, this is not Columbus Day weekend which is the weekend of October 6-8. The School's Homecoming festivities will be held on the 20th (the date we previously announced). So mark your calendar, get your guest list together and tell your friends!

Lobsterday.com Website

We've made some improvements to our Lobsterday.com website to incorporate the content of the ever popular "Lobster Lore", include a new Contact and Google Map linklink, make the website easier to navigate, and generally add more content and pictures. Check it out and send this link to any friends that enjoy the taste of Fresh Live Lobster. Check it out at http://www.lobsterday.com. (We've even started a Finestkind Facebook page). By the way, we should have an online shopping cart on the website by September 1 for all those who prefer to order and pay via the web.

We Need Your Party Pictures!

Since 1982, Lobster Day has become a great tradition for "get togethers" with family and friends. We'd like to show others how to party like real Finestkinders! So we'll be putting up a "Party Page" on the website and Facebook page with pictures of Finestkinders and their Lobster Day feasts. Send in your pictures and party/recipe ideas to our email address at lobsterday@gmail.com.

A Very Special Thanks to all of our Volunteers - Lobster Day would not be possible without You!!

That's all for now - Hope to see you at our Fall Lobster Day! All the Best,

Margie & Chris Cobb

Finestkind Lobster


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