What do clam diggers do in winter?

Working Loagy Bay Grant

Harvesting clams in Wellfleet when winter is still months away. Photo by Flickr user Beth Knittle [bknittle], used under a Creative Commons license (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Boston Magazine’s Supply Chain series — “where we go behind the plate to get a feel for the day-to-day of Boston’s most relied-upon restaurant purveyors” — recently featured a “winter edition” that checks in on some folks who’d been previously profiled.

First up, Cassandra Landry revisits the Woodburys, who provide Boston restaurants with clams in season. And when the cold and snow and ice arrive? As Pat Woodbury tells it,

Winter is my summer vacation! We harvest up through New Year’s. Things get difficult out on the flats this time of year, because where we grow—and in most of Wellfleet—is intertidal. We get ice and the temperature makes it difficult, so we stop, and we’ll be off until spring. It’s a unique time of our season. The first month we pick up the pieces that we’ve left during the season, try to figure out where we are and analyze how the year went and what our next move is. Another part of our business is research and design, so during the year, we got a grant to design a clam-sorting machine. We built it and tested it, and over the winter we’re going to be rebuilding a machine we have in our shop that sorts sizes of clams, and then build a clam-counting machine. Fun stuff like that.

For more from Woodbury (like why harvesting clams in the dead of winter is not a smart idea), along with two additional interviews and some links, head here.


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