Hoquiam Farmer’s Market News – Clam Chowder Recipe Edition

We have official Organic Red Irish Potatoes coming in tomorrow morning, along with the very Irish fresh organiccarrots with their pretty green tops still on. If you haven’t noticed, I succumbed to pressure from those of you who wanted pre-washed salad greens- my revenge is that I got you Super Greens, the healthiest blend of good greens available! Perfect for St. Patrick’s Day, you’ll love ‘em!
We’re having fresh Razor Clams again for dinner tonight, because-
Spring Razor Clam Season has arrived!!
I’ve been itching to get out for these plump beauties, hoping for the moss backs to have recovered from the stress of winter. I’ve noticed that Big City Foodies are becoming interested in the ancient and venerable sport of razor clam digging. How gratifying to know that our way of life is being adopted by an entirely new generation, young people who were raised on supermarket food , now interested in foraging for fresh, healthy, and utterly delectable wild harvest. It’s fun to see this new generation of enthusiastic clam diggers out on the beach- they’re easy to spot! Look for a small group crowding around a hole, shouting encouragement as one person digs frantically in the sand. The shout of victory as they haul up the first clam, the squeals of delight, then they all begin searching for the sign of a clam ‘show’ in earnest. And their clam shovels are all still bright and shiny .
Someday I really should indulge in buying a stainless steel clam shovel, but the family rule seems to be that a new shovel isn’t purchased until an old one breaks. Every five years or so Joe scrapes the crud off of our shovels to expose the edge, and we’re good to go. However- I do have a brand new clam accessory to try out, and I can hardly wait. It’s like having your outfit for the first day of school hanging in the closet since the middle of July, you admire it every day until school starts in September! I have a gorgeous new Clam Basket. Uh-huh.
I wish I still had my father’s hand knotted long, long commercial diggers net that trailed behind, bumping on the sand and needing to be scooped up like a ladies long skirts to be ceremoniously carried back up the beach. The new tiny plastic nets are an insult to my memories. Local carpenter and woodworker extraordinaire Larry Doyle came to my rescue. He based his design on a clam basket that his father had, so this puppy has papers. The bottom is flat and made of open wire, the handle is high. Easy to carry, perfect for dipping the basket in water to cleanse the clams, and a masterpiece of fine design. I am so excited! The basket also doubles as a gardening tool, allowing the dirt to be hosed off your freshly harvested carrots and beets outside. I know, I’m making you jealous, but fear not. You too may have a clam & garden basket, just stop by the Grays Harbor Farmers Market in Hoquiam.
I also have a new Clam Chowder recipe to share. It’s super quick and easy, but elegant enough for company, and Gluten Free. The inspiration came from the instant garlic mashed potatoes that we take on hiking trips and my growing number of friends who are gluten intolerant. Read on—-
3 good size potatoes, peeled and diced
8 cups of water
Bring to a boil, simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in;
1 & ½ cups of instant garlic mashed potatoes
Stir until mixture thickens. Then add;
2 cups of ground razor clams + nectar
6 slices of crisp cooked bacon
Heat gently, the clams will cook in just a few moments.
For an even richer chowder, increase instant potatoes to 2 cups and add one cup or more of half and half right at the end.
Serve with a nice dollop of butter in each bowl.
Optional ingredients; sauteed onion and celery, grated carrots
Did you know that there are Razor Clams in Ireland too? They’re shaped differently and are smaller. I hate to be a traitor to my Irish heritage, but I’d rather have Razor Clams on St. Patrick’s Day than Corned Beef and Cabbage!
Barbara Bennett Parsons, manager of the Grays Harbor Farmers Market
at 1958 Riverside in Hoquiam. Now open on Tuesdays!!!!! That only leaves one tiny day of the week that we’re closed- Mondays. I’m working on that!
Deidra’s Deli, open 7 days a week, from 11 until 7 weekdays, 11 until 4 Saturday and Sunday