Before you complain about the prices of locally-harvested fresh clams, think about how they were harvested. In Maine, intertidal zone clamming must be done by hand to avoid environmental damage. (That zone is the area above water at low tide and below water at high tide.)


Professional and other clammers must be licensed by the township in which they harvest and are subject to State and local regulations, including daily quotas.

Then, there is the matter of the back-breaking work in boot-sucking muck, often in less-than-ideal weather. Clammers search for the mollusks with a pronged Hoe (or Rake) and/or their hands. The clams are tossed into a Hod (or Roll), which is a slightly rounded half-bushel basket made with spaced lathes or aluminum; the clams can be rinsed off in the Hod.


Around here, most of the clams seem to be soft shell (Mya arenaria), Surf/Hen (Spisula solidissima), and Razor (Ensis directus) clams.

(Brooklin, Maine)