Customer E-Letters 2013 - 2015

Finestkind Lobster - Winter Customer Letter February 21, 2015 8:15PM

Dear Finestkinders:

The date of our Spring Lobster Day is Saturday May 16, 2015. We'll be mailing you an announcement the third week of March and our Pickup Site will once again be at Falls Church High School. So start putting together your guest list - there's nothing better than getting your family and friends together for a pre-summer feast of fresh Maine Lobstah and Steamahs and Gulf Shrimp.

Lobster Specialty Soups and Dishes

We've added to our traditional Lobster Day menu! At our NYE Lobster Day, we introduced two lobster soups (Smoked Scallop Lobster Bisque and Lobster Corn Chowder) from award winning Hancock Gourmet Lobster Company. We sold out all of the 62 containers we had on hand and have received great feedback. So we decided to add three lobster dishes (Lobster Mac & Cheese, Lobster Risotto, and Lobster Pot Pies) for our Spring Lobster Day.

Please take a look and give one a try. The special Finestkind prices are 50% of what you can buy them for elsewhere. And since they come in frozen packages, you can enjoy your gourmet lobster soups and dishes 365 days a year!

Here's a link to our Specialty Foods webpage for more details:

Maine Lobster Outlook - Good

Some experts are already saying New England's record cold winter could make 2015 a similar year to 2014 with lobsters shedding their shells later in the summer. Spring lobsters shouldn't be affected, but look for 2015 Fall and NYE lobster to once again have softer shells and more tender meat.

Gulf Shrimp Outlook - Very Good

We get our wild brown shrimp from Venice, Louisiana located 75 miles southeast of New Orleans. Packed in ice with no chemicals added we think it's much tastier and meatier than shrimp you'll find in local markets. Surprisingly Louisiana shrimp production represents only 5% of US shrimp consumption. That's because 90% of US shrimp consumption is imported and much of that is farmed shrimp. Expect 2015 to be another very solid shrimp harvest.

Maine Clam Outlook

Maine clams are also expected to have a good season in 2015. However the caveat with the soft shell clams is their quantity and quality is always highly subject to weekly environmental and regulatory factors. This winter was a good example with many New England retailers left without clams for New Year's Eve. Luckily we got ours just before many harvest areas were either frozen or closed down.

Stay warm - Spring is just around the corner! Any questions or feedback, please give us a call. Thanks for your support and hope to see you on May 16th!

All the best,

Chris & Margie Cobb

Finestkind Lobster - Summer Customer Letter July 19, 2014 1:45PM

Dear Finestkinders:

Just a brief Summer update in anticipation of our upcoming Lobster Day.

2014 Fall Lobster Day Date

Mark your calendar and get your guest list together for Finestkind's 33rd Annual Fall Lobster Day - Saturday October 18th at Falls Church High School. Details and order cards will be mailed out the third week of August 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 @ or give us a call @ (703) 333-2978.

Lobster Update

The effects of the cold winter are still being felt by the Maine Lobstermen. The lobster season's off to a slow start and catches have been small in many areas. State lobster biologist Carl Wilson said the cold winter and spring may have held back molting. Some lobstermen and buyers are reporting catches half the size they saw at this time last year.

Molting could start happening "any day now," Wilson said, adding that this year's molt appears similar to what the state typically experienced 10 years ago. The last two years (which brought record catches of more than 125 million pounds of lobster each) were seasons that featured an early molt, he said. Wilson and lobstermen said they still expect the season to be a strong one and to take off after shedding.

Finestkind's lobster prices will be the same as last Fall - $10.80/lb for Regular Size (1.25 lb) Lobsters and $12.80/lb for Large (2.0 lb) Lobsters.

Shrimp and Clams

All indications are that this year will be an abundant harvest for both Gulf Shrimp and Maine Soft Shell Ipswich Clams.

Have a great summer and hope to see each of you for our Fall Lobster Day! All the Best,

Chris & Margie Cobb

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

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 @ or give us a call @ (703) 333-2978. We'll get a mailing out to you in a few days.


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

 Summer Customer 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 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. 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 - 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 for order forms to mail or fax, email us at 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.


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. 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

If you haven't been to our 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

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