Portland’s Bangs Island Mussels Are the Most Unique in the World
Annie Moretti gave me and my family a first-hand glimpse of what it means to raise the best mussels in Maine and possibly the country.
I didn't know much about mussels. I had heard about Bangs Island Mussels. I knew they were from Maine...and that was the extent of it. But Annie is an Uncle Nicky fan and offered to take the fam out to tour the islands and see the mussel 'rafts'. So, all eleven of us packed onto a boat and headed out. Another boat was loaded with employees. They often treat their hard-working staff with some fun time off together. They are all a big family, and for a few hours - we were family too!
Annie is a nurse by trade, but Covid changed that for now. She's part of the Bangs family. Her brother, Matt is a marine biologist who has spearheaded the environmentally sound way to harvest mussels. Gary, the dad, is a jack of all trades and was our pilot for the afternoon. All of the Moretti's and crew were ridiculously easy-going and nice. All the while showing me and my family the islands, the mussel rafts, and lobster boat races out on Long Island.
Now I could try and explain how the mussels grow, and how kelp plays a huge role - but I would screw it up. It's okay because Eater did an amazing video on the whole process!
I can't thank Annie, Matt, and Captain Gary enough for loading all 11 of us on the boat and having such a great afternoon. The crew in their boat tied up to our boat and we became one giant party boat among a zillion others watching the lobster boat races. In this video, you'll notice that the camera gets wonky. That's because a rope snapped holding the boats together. No big whoop. They fixed it and the party continued.
Had a great time, learned a ton about mussels, ate some delicious mussels, and made friends that I'm sure to see again! Next time you are out, and you see Bangs Island Mussels on the menu - do yourself a favor and get them!