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A Way of Life: Digging for Clams

“All you need to dig clams is a strong back and a weak mind.”
-Essex saying,
from Franklyn Goucher’s memoirs

What does it take to dig for clams? Well, the tools of the trade are deceptively simple. Whether you are a commercial clam-digger taking in 500 pounds a day, or a recreational clam-digger bringing home a bushel for dinner, you still use the same technique: bent over the mud flats at low tide, dragging a short-handled metal fork through the sand to turn up one clam at a time. If you don’t have an original white oak basket made by Henry Jeffs from Essex, a burlap onion bag does just fine to collect your catch for the day. But think twice before you imagine that clam-digging is a walk on the beach.

Select the images below to learn more.

Tool Catalogue  Clam Diggers of Plum Island 


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A Way of Life: Digging for Clams