BRUNSWICK — There’s a new fish in town. Well, actually it has been around awhile, but its found a new place to call home. It’s native and fresh and lives in the cool, clear waters of Casco Bay. There isn’t much that comes from the ocean that I don’t love to eat, and I love it all the more when it comes from local sources, so I am delighted to have a new place to buy fresh seafood right in Brunswick.

I am always on the lookout for local seafood shops, having discovered gems like Plant’s Seafood in Bath where you can get a cup of tasty chowder or a lobster roll on the way back from Popham, or Cantrell’s in Topsham, where I know I can always find Finnan Haddie (Scottish-style smoked haddock that makes amazing chowder). Or I can travel down Route 24 and stop just before the sweet little bridge at Gurnet’s Trading to shake the hand of the big fisherman at the door before choosing something for dinner (or staying to eat outside under their umbrellas when the weather is nice).

But, these are all just a bit outside of town. For a short while, Long Reach Shellfish Company had a small storefront at the entrance to the Shaw’s shopping complex that had some wonderful selections, but then they closed. So, when I saw a sign announcing that a new seafood shop was soon going to open right around the corner from town on Bath Road, I was delighted.

You may already know Moody’s Seafood from its location in Cundy’s Harbor, where it has been since 1998. They are a family-run business that sources its offerings from six locations along the Maine coast, but sells products to customers as far away as Boston.

In total, Moody’s sells about 35 percent of Maine’s shellfish, employing 138 harvesters. Three of those are owner Scott Moody’s sons, fourth-generation harvesters. Scott said, “If it swims and you can pull it out of the ocean, I’ve chased it – from shrimp to lobster, to diving for scallops and digging for clams.”

He added that the finfish he sells comes all from guys he knows fresh off the boats to his store.

We talked about the value of the shellfish industry and he described his work volunteering in the Harpswell schools to share his experiences with students who might be interested in fishing careers in the future.
When I visited Moody’s just a week or so after its grand opening on Nov. 28, Scott kindly showed me around. Behind the office area, I could see half a dozen or more people cleaning and shucking shellfish. This is one of the reasons he cited for his move to the Bath Road location – more space for this kind of processing.

Ducking next door to the retail store, he showed me the dining area adorned with gorgeous Maine seascape photographs and the fresh seafood cases filled with a mouthwatering array of local fish and shellfish.

I was leaving at the beginning of the lunch hour as customers were gazing up at the menu of haddock sandwiches, crab and clam rolls or full meal baskets with fresh cut fries and slaw, just to note a few of the options. You can get food for take-out, as well, and they’re open seven days a week for fresh or cooked seafood. And, they ship fresh seafood to places like my native Missouri, if you’re looking for a holiday gift.

While the retail facility has moved to Bath Road, a substantial part of the business remains in Cundy’s Harbor, where Scott lives. The cold storage facility there is quite impressive. I got to tour it – everything from the six chillers that can cool the ocean water temperature in the summer to the pumps that can filter up to 3,500 gallons of seawater a minute. I got to peek into the two holding tanks where there were more than 70 bushels of clams and 10,000 oysters.

In the future, Scott hopes to delve into aquaculture to expand his business. He’s already taken out several cooperative leases to raise oysters and hard-shell clams and buys aquacultured products from several area growers to sell.

He noted the challenges of growing soft-shell clams with the large number of green crabs that has been decimating their population and said he’ll stick with the more reliable, harder-shelled species.

I left my visit to the retail shop with a pound of fresh halibut, which was delicious. And, I plan to go back soon to sample other offerings, as well as to try out the restaurant side of things.

For more information on Moody’s and their new location at 36 Bath Road in Brunswick, visit www.moodysseafood.com.