North Fork, LI: The Clam Digger and Fish Markets

Next to our house is a strand of of undeveloped beach; behind it, lie several untouched acres of woods and salt marsh, inhabited by herons and other wildlife. Is this heaven? I would say so. And my neighbor and friend Paula tells me that the Peconic Land Trust is going to buy this little slice of nirvana and preserve it for the folks who love the North Fork in its natural state.

That would be great because for my friend Dee’s sake, we don’t want home builders mucking up the water, which right now is clear as a bell and teeming with clams, crabs and other marine life.

Dee, you see, is a clam digger–or should I say a clam diver? First she dons her wet suit, flippers, mask and snorkel. Then, she wades out into the water and starts to swim. From where I sit, she looks like a smaller version of the Loch Ness monster, or maybe a submarine.

After about a half hour, she emerges from the bay, he wet suit glistening in the sun, and ambles onto the beach. She sticks her hand down her wet suit. No, she’s not a pervert. She’s merely extracting the clams that she’s dug up from the bay, using her wet suit to shuttle them back to the beach. Clever, huh?

Now, we have a cooler full of clams and Dee’s going to prepare her signature Manhattan-style clam chowder. Since I lugged the clams back to her house, I get to have some!

If you’re a landlubber but still love clams and other seafood try Braun’s in Cutchogue or the Southold Fish Market. Last weekend from Braun’s, we had scallops so sweet and buttery, we could have eaten them raw. Actually, we did make fluke crudo, marinating it in some olive oil and lemon. Even those who shy away from raw fish would have been sold after tasting this mild fish with just a hint of lemonony zest.

Braun Seafood
Main Road
Cutchogue, NY
631 734 6700

Southold Fish Market
61850 Main Road,
PO Box 1802
Southold, NY
631 765 3200

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