Tomales Bay is best known for producing copious amounts of delicious oysters, but today’s article in the Chronicle sheds some light on the rise of clams in the oyster-dominated area. Tomales Bay has begun to produce small, sweet clams, and those unique clams have established themselves as a complementary crop to the oyster business:
This is welcome news for many cooks, who might long have assumed the only way to make chowder and pasta sauce was to buy clams flown in from the East Coast, settle for canned clams or just live with a lack of the versatile shellfish, at its sweetest when fresh.In part, it’s because of its, well, clammed-up nature, that this bivalve shuns the limelight. Clams are fragile, and once out of water die more quickly than oysters, making them difficult to transport. They’re also relatively cheap, so distributors aren’t as motivated to haul them in from the East Coast. These factors help make clams a natural for local aquaculture, and [clam farmer Martin] Strain and others are perched to meet local demand.
Call us optimistic, but we can’t wait to see these “West Coast clams” become widely available in the Bay Area. Clams are affordable, delicious and easy to use. Plus, given Bay Area chefs’ penchants for using local produce, we could be looking at the food trend of 2007. Imagine the possibilities!
Local Waters Clam Up [SFGate]