Friday, June 19, 2009
Maine: Linda Bean's lobster dreams
If you'd like to see more of the benefits of Maine-caught seafood accrue to Mainers, you may be interested in my profile of Linda Bean in the July issue of Down East.
Bean, granddaughter of the founder of L.L. Bean, is building Maine's first complete, vertically-integrated lobster company, one that buys lobster (and sells fuel and bait at cost) from its docks, processes it at its own Maine-based plants, and sells it under its own brand (at supermarkets) and at its own national chain of takeout restaurants.
The article explores why Bean -- who has no prior background in seafood and could do whatever she wants -- is jumping into the lobster fishery (she's a passionate champion of primary resource harvesters) and how it fits in with her very conservative politics. (Bean twice ran for U.S. Congress, spearheaded the effort to defeat the Equal Rights Amendment in Maine, founded a conservative statewide news magazine in the 80s, and still plays a significant behind-the-scenes role in Maine and national politics.)
The piece isn't available online, but New Englanders can find it on most newsstands for the next three or four weeks. [UPDATE: 11/17/09. The full piece is now online.]
One small correction: I write on page 88 that her mother, Hazel (May) Bean (now Dyer), pioneered L.L. Bean's ladies department in the 60s and 70s. That was actually her aunt, Hazel (June) Bean, her mother's sister-in-law. (Yes: two of L.L Bean's sons married women named Hazel!) Linda's mother didn't play a role in the ladies department, but she still sits on L.L. Bean's board.