I grew up in the tiny lobster fishing village of Cutler, described as “little more than a curve in the road linked to a small cove” in a Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) report.
Cutler harbors many lobster fishing families who can trace back their ancestry four or more generations. This is the case with my family. My great grandfather Gene Farris captained a lobster smack in the early 1900s and later bought and sold lobster from a wharf in Cutler. My grandfather took over Farris’ wharf, dealing lobster and also fishing for lobster along the Cutler coast. My father and brother are currently full-time Cutler lobster fishermen, operating their business off the same weathered wharf as my Great Grampy Gene.
Like many of the girls in my town, I grew up with my name on the side of my father’s lobster boat. Unlike most girls at the time, I worked as a sternman on that boat. I stuffed bait bags and banded lobsters every summer and school break from the age of 10 until I graduated from college. I also painted lobster buoys, repaired traps and, in the process, developed an intimate knowledge of one of America’s most iconic industries.
I currently live in London and work in advertising. It is a long way – physically and culturally – from the shores of Cutler and the stern of a lobster boat. But the lobster industry will always be in my blood and part of my life story. My first ad job in San Francisco was secured not by acing an interview in The City by the Bay but after a chance meeting between my father and an advertising CEO in Cutler Harbor.
Through the years, I have entertained city friends and co-workers with freshly Fed Exed Maine lobster and stories of the unique culture and conservation practices behind America’s favorite crustacean. I started blogging about lobster fishing in 2008 and published a book about it in 2012.
This Bangor Daily News blog is one more ode to the Maine lobster industry. Join me, on a journey that covers everything from updates on the fishing season and delicious lobster recipes to an insider’s take on lobster boat racing, culture, conservation and current events.
You can also visit Christina’s personal blog at Maine-lylobster.com.