Our Acres of Clams

May 5th, 2011

We’ve been getting lots of comments on our clam chowder at the pub. Folks have appreciated not only the flavor, but the uniqueness of getting whole, in the shell clams in the popular dish. To add to that uniqueness, the clams we use are produced locally and sustainably.

Doesn’t that make it even better?

Thankfully, our recent partnership with Baywater Shellfish allows for the Pub and Pegasus to confirm our commitment to local fresh food. The clams in our steamers and chowder are grown on the west side of Hood Canal, less than 25 miles away from our restaurant.

Baywater Shellfish is a family business. In 1990, then graduate student Joth Davis and his wife Karen found their own slice of paradise near Thorndyke Bay. The road down to the beach where the shellfish thrive is riddled with ruts and shrouded in overgrown vegetation. Remnants of an ancient homestead pepper the property and as the beach gets closer, it feels like slipping into a different world. The air feels fresher, time seems to slow down. Eagles nest in the trees above, coyotes and cougars leave footprints in the sand, black bears occasionally make an appearance. Preserving this pristine place and making little impact on the environment around it were priorities when the family found the land and continue to be today.

Davis, a fisheries biologist, immediately put into practice sustainable techniques for growing shellfish. Everything is done by hand. No chemicals are used. The bags for the clams are recycled.

The rows of clam bags are revealed with the outgoing tide. Manila clams are grown from seed (which are produced locally at the Taylor Quilcene Hatchery) in bags placed into the substrate. It takes two years for the clams to grow, and when they’re ready, the bags are plucked from the muck and placed on shin high racks, where the water flows over them. With the rise and fall of the tides, the clams clean themselves out. When they’ve flushed all the sand out, they’re ready to go to market.

In addition to their availability at our establishments, Baywater Shellfish are sold at the Bainbridge Island Farmer’s market every other week during the market’s season.

We’re pleased to have a positive relationship with a company as dedicated to our community as we are. And, of course, we’re grateful that they provide the key ingredient to our unique clam chowder.

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