One of the best taste treats you will ever have! The Bay Scallops that are harvested in the late fall and through the winter are some of the sweetest, tastiest and most versitale harvests we have. The season in most towns on the island begins around the 1st of October for family catch. Each family is allowed to harvest 1/2 bushel per week as long as you have a shellfish permit.
Our family has enjoyed wading in the pond during low tide and scooping up the scallops with a rake. I would recommend waders at this time of the year! The commercial season opens November 1 and they are allowed to catch 2-3 bushels a day depending on the town you fish in, with Saturday and Sundays closed. The commercial boats tend to use a drag on the bottom and then hoist their catch onto the boat. Whether you are using a family permit or commercial, it is the shucking that can take the most time to complete.
Bay Scalloping is not only one of the tastiest harvests it is also environmentally friendly. The Bay Scallop has a little over a two year lifespan. They spawn in their second year, in the summer months, and die toward the end of their second year. By harvesting the scallop in November and throughout the winter we are able to enjoy the delectable shellfish prior to it’s demise. The seed then reaches it’s maturity the following year.
There seem to be many environmental impacts on the bay scallop and some say the amount of scallops available on any given year is cyclical. Sometimes Oak Bluffs will have a better year over Edgartown. Chilmark and Aquinnah tend to compare notes on the subject as well. Vineyard Haven is certainly not out of the mix either. This year happens to be a banner year for all Martha’s Vineyard towns and I intend to make the very most of it. You can too by contacting Edgartown Seafood Market at 508-627-3791. They have been packaging and shipping scallops across the country since the commercial opening on November 1. Stay tuned for some of my favorite recipes!