A Local Treasure: The Clam at Home
"There is a certain haunting appeal about the salt marshes when the ninth month rolls around. Up and down the coast line one senses the mood of September. There are broad expanses of the flat to which the tide comes only once or twice at the full of each moon; there are small curving marshes that nestle up against the mainland. Here and there one sees the drumlins, low-lying earth-islands of glacial deposit left years ago when the last ice age ended."
-Haydn S. Pearson, "Sea Flavor"
Aside from being delicious when fried, what exactly defines a clam? "Clam" is simply one title given to many different species of shellfish from the class of Bivalvia. The clams of New England thrive in our intertidal zone, the coastal areas where sand and sea meet. This zone is below water at high tide, and above water at low tide. This ecosystem has been providing a happy home for hard-shell and soft-shell clams for thousands of years, and has shaped life for the people dwelling there.
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