Digging for DinnerGreat Outdoors
The tide is out. You have a spade in one hand and a bucket in the other. That's pretty much all you need to go clamming on Prince Edward Island. But knowing the best places to go digging and where to look once you get there is much more of a challenge so we've solved that problem for you. Ron Perry has been digging clams since he was little boy. He's full of stories and will talk your ear off as he helps you bring back a "feed" of clams.
You’ll head out to the sandbar just offshore and the first thing he’ll tell you is there are several kinds of clams to be found in the flats around Prince Edward Island…..soft-shelled clams, known around here as squirt clams because of the way they squirt water from their shells when you’re trying to dig them; quahaugs which are little bit bigger than the soft-shelled clams and bar clams which are the biggest of the clams. There’s also razor clams which look a lot like the old time shaving razors from which they get their name.
Clam digging takes place at low tide and is said to be best done on the full moon because that’s when the tide is at its lowest so you can go out further. Finding the clams can be a bit tricky but they usually give themselves away. Ron will show you how to spot the tell-tale holes and circles clam siphons leave behind when they’re feeding.
But digging them can be a delicate procedure because you want to avoid crushing the shells with the shovel….particularly the soft-shelled clams. It’s best to leave crushed ones where you find them because they’ll go bad before you get a chance to eat them. And he’ll also show you how to find quahaugs with your toes and how to shuck any oysters you might find.
There are rules that have to be followed when clamming but Ron will make sure participants don’t run afoul of the regulations…..there’s a minimum size and maximum catch limit and of course, he knows where fishing is allowed and where it isn’t.
But the best part of clamming is the eating! Ron will cook up what you dug. You can pick up some bread, cheese and wine nearby and make a feast of it!
If you'd like to see what it's like to go out clam digging with Ron, check out this video.
In October 2012, Bowen Close (a food writer from Oregon) and her husband Brett dropped by PEI during their year long culinary journey around North America. They went Digging for Dinner with Ron and you can read about their experience on her blog Bowen Appetite.
Digging for Dinner takes place half an hour west of Summerside. We arrange for you to meet Ron in Summerside and then follow him to the location.
Available: Daily (during low tide) 2 hours
May until end of September.
Fee: $90/pp + HST minimum 2 participants
$70/pp + HST 3-6 participants
$25/pp + HST Children under 8