The History of The Long Island Shellfish Industry

Clams are tasty seafood that pair perfectly with wine and craft cocktails. Have you ever enjoyed a plate of Long Island clams and wondered about the history of this seafood dish? To learn about the history of the Long Island shellfish industry, keep reading.

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Before Long Island was even called Long Island, clams were a substantial source of food for the indigenous people. The Great South Bay of Long Island has always had an abundance of shellfish. At one point, New York provided more than 60 percent of the nation’s hard clams. It was also the east coast’s leading producer of chowder, cherrystone, and littleneck clams. If you lived in Long Island during the 1970s, you either were a shell-fisherman or you knew one.

The first Long Island clam processing plant was opened all the way back in 1865. The plant was opened by James H. Doxsee, who was born in Islip in 1825. This plant harvested clams and sold them to New York City markets and local residents. It ran until 1900.

There are several different types of clams, including the quahog clam. This clam grows much slower than the sea clam. It can take 25 to 30 years to mature and can live for as long as 229 years. If you are ordering ocean clams, you are likely ordering clams that are 40 to 100 years old. Long Island’s quahog clams are a local staple with a rich history.

Next time you order up a plate of clams, you can remember their rich history. To discover some of the best clams in the area, visit PJ Lobster House. Our seafood restaurant and market is home to outstanding seafood and beverages. You can find PJ Lobster House at 134 Main Street, Port Jefferson, New York, 11777.

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