Growing up we would spend the summers in Rhode Island. Some of my most vivid memories are of clamming with my dad – walking through tall reeds and wet muddy sand to get to a favorite clamming spot. My dad would rake up the clams and then I would reach down in the murky churned up water, barely keeping my head above water, to retrieve them. He always refused to pay for a permit to clam even though I’m pretty sure it would’ve only cost like $7. Being under the age of 14 I wasn’t required to have a permit and, as such, I was the designated clam digger. I’m not sure what age I was when these outings began, but I think I was pretty little. We’d bring our haul home then experiment with clam chowder recipes – my favorite soup to this day.
On Father’s Day I wanted to recreate a version of that experience. I searched around on the internet and found a company called Southeast Expeditions that leads kayak clamming tours on the Eastern Shore. We woke up early, met our guide, hopped in our boats and paddled out to a sandbar. We walked around the sandbar digging our toes in the muddy sand in search of bivalves. Within a few minutes I found one, then another and another. Our pile mounted and we left with nearly 50 pounds of clams! These were big quahog clams, not the little cherrystone steamer clams. We got home and tried our hand at fritters and then made chowder.
Lucky for my dad, there is no permit required for clamming in the state of Virginia and so he was happy to do all his own clam digging. Poetic justice and a happy Father’s Day, indeed.
[ Our experience with Southeast Expeditions was fantastic. Our guide was wonderful and even sent a handwritten post card the following week. I really cannot say enough good things about the company (even though I wasn’t paid or perked to do so). ]