Foraging Kids

Clams can’t hide (when you know where to look)

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6a010534a389ba970b01901bb2b6fc970bSimple pleasure No.1. Clamming is new to me. I’ve pulled mussels (fun!), and handled plenty of found clams and crabs. But the boys, led by dads with clamming forks and town licenses, usually sink through sticky mud while I’m off doing other things. A quick visit to the beach this week to collect eelgrass for the garlic bed filled this foraging void—and opened my eyes to the joys of the simple seaside hunt.

If you squat down and soften your gaze, you’ll see clams squirt—or spurt. (There was some discussion about what to call the little fountains that erupt from the sand.) I couldn’t help but giggle everytime I saw one. The telltale squirt holes that dot the firm sand show where they’re digging below the surface. Caleb’s theory: “The bigger the hole, the bigger the clam.” 

Once you see them spurt, you gently dig. And dig.

6a010534a389ba970b017eeab02c9c970dAnd the clam you pull up feels like a treasure.

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Until you have a handful.

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Then, because we don’t yet have license to keep them, we tuck them back into the sand.

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And cover them with more sand, drip castles, and more sand—until you can’t see that we’d ever disturbed them.

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After the hunt, even the youngest clammer walks tall. Knowing he can fetch dinner, with his own small hands, is a powerful joy.

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