Sea Clams Vs. Ocean Clams: What's the Difference?
The commercial harvesting and processing of the Atlantic Surf Clam started in the 1970's. This fast-growing clam matures in five to seven years. Sea Clams are harvested in relatively shallow water, usually from about 60 feet to 120 feet in depth. Sea Clam meat is light tan in color with shading toward the siphon. Aesthetically, the Sea Clam is pleasing to the eye with its light color and various size pieces. The meat from the clams lends itself well to recipes in which a sweet clam is desired.
The harvesting and processing of the Ocean Clam, or Quahog (pronounced co-hog) also started in the 1970's. These clams are harvested in much deeper waters with the primary beds being located 30-50 miles offshore in depths of 120 to 240 feet. The Ocean Clam is a much slower growing species than the Sea Clam and takes 25 to 30 years to mature. The Ocean Clam is much smaller than the Sea Clam. Meat from an Ocean Clam is darker tan in color, has a firmer texture, and more pungent taste than Sea Clam meat. Many people prefer the stronger, richer taste of the Ocean Clam.
The Anatomy of Clams
The major harvesting area is bordered on the south by Norfolk, Virginia, and on the north by Cape Cod Bay. In the Industry, this area is known as the "Mid-Atlantic Bight". The major ports of call for the industry are Ocean City, Maryland; Cape May and Atlantic City, New Jersey; Long Island, New York; and New Bedford, Massachusetts.
LaMonica Fine Foods operates the largest Hand Shucking plant in the United States. Hand Shucking provides a more tender, flavorful clam.