Boston Still a Sure Bet


James Wright, Senior Editor

Published on
February 3, 2008

Unlike Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and thousands of other bewildered bettors, I didn't lose any wagers yesterday when the New York Giants stunned the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII. You'd have to be crazy to gamble on a football game, but I'd bet that lots of cocktail shrimp were devoured yesterday during all the festivities. Holidays - and let's face it, Super Bowl Sunday is pretty much a holiday - usually cause a spike in the flow chart representing annual seafood sales. But this weekend was merely a warm-up for what's to come.

You might as well consider the next six weeks to be the Super Bowl of Seafood, because Lent starts this Wednesday. The 40-plus days between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday, March 23, are some of the busiest on the seafood calendar. October may be the official National Seafood Month, but Lent, during which practicing Catholics eschew red meat for fish each Friday, is when up to a third of a seafood company's sales are conducted.

With an unusually early start to Lent, will seafood suppliers be as unprepared as the Patriots looked yesterday?

"The only worry is that [Lent] ends early," a confident Boston seafood supplier told me on Friday, adding that February, March and April are the busiest months of the year, due to the Lenten season and the International Boston Seafood Show, which is also quite early this year due to the early Easter date. That's right - IBSS is less than three weeks away, Feb. 24 through 26.

For many buyers and suppliers, business really picks up in the weeks after IBSS, what with all the new contacts and prospects. But for Legal Sea Foods in Boston, business is already picking up, thanks to Menino, who lost a friendly football wager with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Menino will be sending Bloomberg 100 cups of Legal's clam chowder, as well as other regional goods, which Bloomberg will donate to area homeless shelters and other charities.

Take heart, Mayor Menino. When it comes to seafood, Boston is still Titletown.

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