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A Local Treasure: The Business of Clamming

Essex Business Directory
Courtesy of the Essex Historical Society.


 

The clam generates jobs for people living in the coastal areas of Massachusetts, where clams thrive. The soft shell clams harvested in the Great Marsh along the North Shore are particularly valuable because they are dug by local people and served at local restaurants; the money made rarely leaves the community. The famed sweetness and distinctive quality of these clams also ensures that tourists still flock in the summer, sending their money into the local economy.


 



 

 

 

 

 

Dave Sargent"More money stays in the local economy from shell fishing than any other industry ever surveyed, particularly soft shell clams. Soft shell clams that are harvested here are sold locally within the upper North Shore. They’re shucked out locally within the upper North Shore. And they’re sold to restaurants in the upper North Shore. And people from all over the world come to these restaurants for steamers and fried clams. There’s virtually no output multiplier, it just adds to itself. It’s a huge economic engine!” - Dave Sargent

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Jack Grundstrom

“The year between when I was in the first and second grade, I shucked clams. And I shucked them all summer and saved my money, and I saved up $21. And the gas station up the street handled Firestone products. And I bought a brand new Firestone bike for $21. I was the talk of the town with that new bike, right? And then the year between the eighth grade and freshman in high school, another boy and I went down to Essex and worked on a farm, all summer long pitching hay. And we were getting a dollar a day, and we could work Saturdays sometimes, so we’d end up sometimes with $6 a week, but generally five. And so one week, my father said to me, 'They’re opening up a new flat down river, the Horseshoe, and you may want to come down and try it.' And I did. The first day, I made fourteen dollars. So, I never went back to farming.” - Jack Grundstrom

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A Local Treasure: The Business of Clamming