Thursday, November 27, 2014

Champion Clam Digger?

"Carl" the Champion Clam Digger is a mystery man.
I've had the digital image of this vintage Provincetown postcard in my collection for years, and this morning I decided to find out what I could about "Carl" in the image above. I've googled every possible combination of key words I can think up, and I can't find a thing. I also tried the Althea Boxell scrapbooks on the Provincetown History Preservation website, also to no avail.
Clam digging by individuals rather than by seafood companies was common in earlier days, when quahogs, steamers, sea clams and even razor clams were easily dug on nearly any beach in Provincetown. Clams were found in many traditional Portuguese recipes, as well as in the ubiquitous clam chowder, and were often used as fishing bait. They weren't expensive, and many families simply dug their own.
You can still dig your own clams today, at the proper time of year, which is now. Stop by Town Hall and get a recreational shellfishing permit, allowing you to gather clams and oysters, seasonally, once a week, either on Fridays or Sundays. Residents and non-resident property owners are charged $15 for this annual license, while non-residents will pay $50, and seniors age 65 and older pay nothing at all.
You'll need a 10-quart pail, a clam rake (found at the local hardware stores) and a shellfish gauge, which you can pick up at Town Hall when you get your license. They'll also give you a copy of the rules, such as sizes of steamers, quahogs and oysters you can harvest, hence the need for the gauge, which is required for you to set out on the tidal flats. Rubber boots will help keep your feet dry as you slosh through wet sand on your quest for delectable seafood, yours for the digging.
Visit the town's Shellfish Regulations page on their website for more information. Be sure you know the rules, gather your mollusks only in designated areas, and be sure to report your catch to the shellfish constable, who keeps statistics on the town's annual harvest, as you leave the beach. Mussels, by the way, can be taken any time of year and require no permit, along with sea worms and periwinkles.
Meanwhile, who has information on "Carl" in the photo above? Call, text or phone TheYearRounder with any insights. My contact info is near the right corner above.
Happy digging!

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