Maine Lobster Grading for Size The highest grade is hard shell grade A and commands the highest price. When the smaller Maine lobsters start to molt, throwing off their old shell and growing a new one. the summer Maine lobsters are softer with less meat and command a lower price because their quality compared to hard shelled lobsters that have not molted. There are a great many Maine lobsters landed during the summer and the market reacts by splitting the prices and quality into several grades. The lesser grades are all scaled by firmness and vitality, The next grade A/B is still proportionally a hard lobster but some Grade B is included because they get by the graders (it's very hard to tell when you are grading thousands of lobsters a day). Grade B lobsters ( Summer Lobster, Firm Shell or Medium Shells) have already molted some time ago and now are reforming a harder shell but they contain soft shrunken meat. Not nearly as much meat or quality as the A+ grade. Now come the Maine lobsters that have shed recently. They are split into two industrial grades called Markets (to be sold to local customers) and Canners (lobsters of such low quality that they are all cooked for meat at processing plants) Markets can come in various degrees of quality. Some cook up just fine. Some cook up mushy. Mortality in shipping is high. So whole sellers take their chances buying B, B/C and C grades. Sometimes they are called beer can lobsters because you can squeeze them like a beer can. Some times they are referred to as junk that should have gone to the canneries. They are often sold locally, so shipping time is not a problem. But they do not travel well and have little meat in them and they more than likely cook up mushy and soggy. They are not worth buying for quality functions. In fact entire lobster parties have been ruined because they received low quality lobsters. You should not buy only by price; you should get to know and trust your lobster dealer. In fact you could end up buying Grade B Firm shells at a higher price than quality Grade A lobsters. Our company New England Provisions switched to shipping only Grade A and it has made our business easier to do because of no complaints. Always call a week before you order to see what the market is doing. We can then be prepared for your order and select your lobster to be set aside the day before shipping. You can also call for same day shipping. If you have the room in your refrigerator or your garage is 45-50 degrees, you should request delivery the day before you are going to eat them. Our Maine lobsters are hardy and are packed for over 48 hours shipping. It's best to leave them in the carton closed in a refrigerated or cool space. Of course if you don't have the room in your fridge; take them out and put them in your two crisper drawers with no ice. Lobsters do not like fresh water ice. Weather plays a big part in shipping by air because of storm delays so if weather can be a problem order a day ahead. We will advise you of any weather conditions that are a problem.