Monday, January 14, 2008

Where to dig for Razor Clams near Westport

Since I was asked, I thought I would share the following:

The WDFW website lists "Twin Harbors" as the location for a 4 day clam dig. That is actually code for the 18 miles of beach that stretches from Willapa Bay to Grays Harbor, ie. Westport/Grayland/Tokeland.

I have made a little primitive map which shows where the best places to find Razor Clams are. If you want to go to Westhaven, I recommend following the map to Westport, then turning toward Westhaven State Park on Jetty Access Road. Park at the state park and walk down to the beach.

To try Grayland, you can access the beach either on Bonge Road or Grayland Beach Road. The area in between these two roads are prime razor clam habitat.

Note that there IS a beach access where 105 T's off to either Westport or Grayland, but the sand is very soft there, and I've seen enough hefty 4WD vehicles get stuck there to keep me away.

Good luck!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Clam Dig Tide Timetables

Just a quick amendment for the post on the Jan 18 - 21, 2008 clam dig... here are the tide timelines:
  • Jan. 18, Friday, 2:56 p.m., +0.6, Twin Harbors only.
  • Jan. 19, Saturday, 3:58 p.m., +0.1, Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis.
  • Jan. 20, Sunday, 4:53 p.m., -0.4, Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis.
  • Jan. 21, 2008; Monday; 5:44 p.m., -0.6, Twin Harbors only.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Wine Country coming to Westport

I recently had the pleasure to meet Kim and Blaine Roberts, the new winemakers that are moving into the Westport/Ocosta area. Yes, I said winemakers. Westport is getting its very own winery, called Vineyards-by-the-sea and Westport Winery. The facility will be complete with vineyards and tasting room. Wow!

The actual vineyards will be in Ocosta, about 10 minutes outside of Westport toward Aberdeen, right next to the lily farm, if you're familiar with the neighborhood. They are going to be opening up their tasting room this spring (2008), and I understand there will be a winemakers dinner sometime in late February at the Half Moon Bay Bar and Grill.

It's all very exciting, and a sneak peek in their holiday letter of some of their proposed wine bottle labels are great. Everything is ocean themed, with Mermaid's Merlot, and Charterboat Chuck's Cabernet Sauvignon among their wines.

For a quick overview, you can check them out at at

I will keep you posted on events and openings!

Razor Clam Digs for January

It's that time again, the WDFW has announced that the next clam digs will occur January 18 - 21, 2008, which happens to coincide with a 3-day weekend (MLKjr holiday). So its a great time to visit Westport. As a bonus, the accuweather is forecasting "brilliant sunshine" for that weekend (hey, I know the weatherfolks are almost never accurate, but we can hope right?).

So, in honor of that upcoming clam dig, I am going to publish my version of "how to clean a clam". These are by no means official instructions, I have ruined a lot of clams before I got to this point, but its how I do it.

(1) Catch your limit of 15 clams.

(2) Put said clams into a colander in the sink. An outdoor sink works well, if available, or you can do it out in your yard. You probably don't want to do this in a sink in a rental, you'll probably totally mess it up and get charged for breaking their garbage disposal or something.

(3) Boil a pot of water. Slowly pour boiling water over colander of clams. You have to have enough water to be able to get each clam for a full 2 - 3 seconds. Alternatively, if your pot is big enough, you can immerse the colander into the boiling water, and then pull it out. This is very similar to blanching vegetables. You don't want to leave it in the boiling water for too long, because it will get chewy. Once out of boiling water, rinse with cold water.

(4) The clams should have "opened up" after this. If they didn't, you either didn't expose the clam to enough hot water, or your clam is bad. My philosophy on shellfish is "when in doubt, throw it out". I know you worked hard for that clam, but you don't want to risk getting sick and ruining your trip to the beach. Some people say to cut the clams out of their shell at this point, but I have found that they just slip right off the shell.

(5) Now you should have the whole clam and you want to cut that puppy open. Now, I'm not going to pretend to know all the names of the parts, you can read other websites for that, but here's the secret. Cut off anything that looks yucky and brown, and leave everything that is white and meaty. See my pictures below for what is yucky and what is meaty. There is also a clear straw like piece that you should make sure to remove. Again, I'm not sure what it is, but it doesn't taste good. Please don't ask why I know.

(6) There you go. Now your clam is clean and ready for whatever great chowder or fritter recipe you have downloaded off the internet. Congratulations!!