Product #: 33001
Scientific Name: Mercenaria mercenaria
Country of Origin: US
Hard clams, or quahogs, are a common nearshore species of clam that is often sold by names reflecting their size such as littleneck, topneck, cherrystone, and chowder. Other names include countnecks, middlenecks, and round clams. Hard often clams are sold live in bags because they are able to tightly close their shell and live off the retained moisture for quite some time after harvest. Hard clams are mildly flavored and often salty.
Hard clams are found from Atlantic Canada, down the east coast of the U.S. and throughout the Gulf of Mexico.
Hard clams are both wild harvested and farmed in the U.S. Wild populations are stable but low in some areas because of habitat loss and poor water quality. Clam farming is increasing, especially in the southeast. Clam farmers plant seed clams, or small juveniles, in their natural habitat and often protect them from predators by covering them with mesh screens. They reach littleneck size in two to three years. Wild harvest and aquaculture are managed by individual state governments since these clams are found in inshore and nearshore waters. Hard clams are harvested with hand rakes and hydraulic dredges, where water is injected into the mud allowing a metal net or rake to be dragged through, removing the clams. This method is very invasive. Fortunately clams live in muddy habitat, which is resilient and quick to return to a normal state.
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