Fresh Seafood: A Seasonal Tradition in New England


Nothing says summer in New England quite like a fresh and generous serving of the catch of the day. As temperatures rise, days become longer, and vacationers return to the beaches, it seems only natural to wrap up your day with a plate full of one of the many options available from our local waters. Whether your choice for dinner after a warm and sunny day is a fried clam roll, a pair of steamed lobsters, or a bowl of rich and creamy chowder, everyone’s favorite seafood dish seems to include the taste of summer itself.

Many factors have contributed to the development of this natural link between summer and seafood in New England. Some of these factors include basic ecosystems’ biology, ocean patterns, history, culture, and tradition, as well as the recent trend toward consuming more locally harvested food.

Biology and Ocean Patterns

Map of the Gulf of MaineAs the days get longer and brighter, the historically rich fishing grounds right here in our own back yard begin to teem with life. For centuries, Stellwagen Bank — a large underwater plateau located just off the coast of Massachusetts — has proven to be one of the richest and most fertile fishing grounds in the world. Further off the coast, Georges Bank also swells with life as temperatures warm up for the summer. At no time of year are these grounds more productive than at the height of summer.

As winter turns to spring and summer, increased and intensified sunlight following the spring equinox stimulates the growth and development of phytoplankton, which in turn is fed on by zooplankton, drawing millions of bait fish like herring and mackerel to Stellwagen Bank and the surrounding fishing grounds. And where there are little fish, larger fish are sure to follow. New England staples like cod and haddock — which are found in our waters year round — become more active and plentiful during these months as they feed, grow, and spawn. Signature summer favorites like striped bass and blue fish return to the area, while travelers from afar like bluefin tuna and swordfish follow the baitfish close to the shores of Massachusetts, Maine, and Rhode Island. Lobster undergoes a seasonal migration from deeper water to the nooks and crannies of the rugged New England coastline, making them more plentiful and market prices more reasonable at this time of year. On a similar schedule, bivalves such as clams, scallops, oysters, and mussels begin to spawn in early spring, preparing them for plentiful harvests that last throughout the summer and into early fall.

The intricate combination of biological and seasonal patterns that play out every summer in our local oceans make New England one of the best places in the world to enjoy the freshest and highest quality seafood available. To ensure that customers have access to a steady stream of this incredible bounty from the sea, the team at Turner’s Seafood have built lasting relationships with seafood buyers and the many fishermen, clam diggers, and lobstermen that bring this unparalleled product to shore each and every summer. Whether you purchase from one of Turner’s markets to prepare your own fresh seafood dishes at home or would rather sit and enjoy the atmosphere at the restaurant in Melrose, you can rest assured that any seafood from Turner’s will guarantee a summer favorite of the highest quality and freshest taste. We look forward to enjoying the summer with you!

Photo credit: NOAA