When running a business it is important to know a lot about what you have ventured into. In our case our wealth of knowledge is in clams, lobsters, and clambakes. Here are some bits of information about the bits you find in our clam chowder.
· Steamers are soft-shelled clams, and are also known as Native Littlenecks.
(Also known as the “Steamer Clam.” Found just below the surface of tidal flats. Fused siphons short. Similar in shape to Heart Cockle, but shells thinner and more flattened. Many fine ridges radiate out from the hinge. These ridges are crossed by growth rings. White to tan; sometimes stained with geometric patterns. Can live up to 14 years and grows to 4 inches. Ensure area is safe from red tide before harvesting.)
· The best considered clam for chowder is the Butter Clam.
(A large thick shelled clam. Gray to white. Shells can be stained dark by iron sulfate. Prominent growth rings. Valves close together tightly (unlike the Horse Clam). Found in the low intertidal zone 8 to 14 inches below the surface. Can live up to 20 years, and reaches 6 inches in size. Ensure area is safe from red tide before harvesting.)
· Clams are considered “filter eaters,” and eat plankton. To do this, they pump water through their bodies and strain the microscopic organisms (plankton) through their gills.
(And they do all that 8 to 14 inches below the surface of the sand!)
· Clams breathe, eat and eliminate waste products with what is called a siphon. It is a double-tubed organ that operates much like a snorkel.
(That’s the part that sticks out of the clam and looks like a tongue.)
· The rings on a clamshell help to indicate how old a clam may be.
· The world record for eating clams, according to the Guinness Book, is 424 littleneck clams in eight minutes. David Barnes of Port Townsend Bay, WA holds the record.
(Don’t try this at home! And definitely not with fried clams; you need to savor those!)