Our Johnny’s Blues wild Maine mussels (Mytilus edulis) promise to exceed your expectations and redefine any preconceived notions you may have concerning cultivated mussels. Unlike cultured mussels, which are grown suspended in the water column (an intangible vertical plane running from ocean floor to surface) Johnny’s Blues mussels spend their entire life in their natural habitat, on the ocean floor. Our wild Johnny Blues mussels are grown in meticulously managed beds, located at the very fringe of the intertidal and subtidal zones. The coast of Mid-Coast Maine provides an ideal natural habitat for mussel grow-out. The first part of a mussel’s life is spent as a free-floating entity which is carried by the ocean’s currents. While at the end of their larval (spat) stage, the mussels attach themselves to a stable and sturdy object (a rocky outcrop, a piling of a pier, the hull of a boat, even the occasional lobster) by strong sinewy anchor lines know as byssal (byssus) threads. Here the mussel will remain for its life, filter-feeding bits of organic matter and plankton from the ceaseless wash of the tidal current provided by the nutrient rich Gulf of Maine.
After three or four years of this sedentary lifestyle, the wild Maine mussels are ready for harvest. Our fishermen (in the case of Johnny’s Blues, Captains Timmy Manning and James West…Please see photograph) harvest the mussels by hand rake or by with a small drag.
The Johnny Blues wild Maine mussels are immediately brought ashore to our Hancock, Maine processing facility, and immersed in a super-chilled seawater that serves two purposes. First, the mussels are allowed to purge themselves of any impurities in the constant flow of chilled seawater. The mussels will flush any mud, dirt, etc out of their system in this controlled environment. Secondly, the mussels actually strengthen themselves as a direct result of their time spent in this hyper-chilled brine, therefore extending their life expectancy. When the mussels are removed from the tanks, they are free of debris and their constitution has been bolstered. Our Johnny’s Blues mussels are then “de-bearded”. That is to say, the byssal threads are removed from the mussels, thereby reducing the labor required by the end user. Johnny’s Blues mussels then go through an intense screening process where any cracked or chipped mussels are culled out, they are graded (sized), sorted, and then bagged, iced and immediately shipped out for distribution. You’ll not find a better value in a wild mussel anywhere.