Other

Explore Cape Cod Through Your Stomach This Fall


If you love lobster, blueberries, clam-digging (in clam-digger shorts, of course) and all the other New England coastal food traditions, then the good times don't have to end with summer vacation — they just get better throughout the fall. A locavore's paradise can be found where the Pilgrims once made landfall and it's equally delicious whether you go white tablecloth and champagne, or beach picnic and microbrews from the bottle. U-Pick at Coonamessett Farm, Falmouth Want to teach the kids how to harvest dinner by hand? Coonamessett Farm in Falmouth does U-Pick blueberries, blackberries, pumpkins, peonies and approximately 20 other crops, ranging from low-glam potatoes to exotics like the water hyacinth. (Also, cuteness alert! Alpacas and miniature donkeys live on the grounds.) Photo Courtesy of Joe's Lobster and Fish Mart
Joe's Lobster and Fish Mart, Sandwich Fresh lobster cooked to order, just-caught bluefish and sweet bay scallops, clams for prices you haven't seen in 20 years...This simple seafood market offers heavenly provisioning for many people, including local youth who queue up and order with the finesse of pro chefs. Photo Courtesy of Lamb and Lion Inn
Pool Terrace, Lamb & Lion Inn Is the first thing you notice about this picture the sexy propane grill in the background? If so, you'll be right at home with this inn's foodie crowd. Innkeeper Tom Dott is the head writer for Edible Cape Cod magazine, and knows every U-Pick Farm, lobster shack and oyster farmer in the area. The guests are almost equally savvy — ask a question on marinating techniques or local vegetables and they'll take turns offering advice. Breakfast Strada With Wendy O's Tomatoes Like most devoted locavore New England businesses, the Lamb & Lion practices what they preach as far as farm-to-fork dining goes. Co-innkeeper Ali Pitcher sets a breakfast table showcasing the best of the neighbors' gardens. Photo Courtesy of Mac's Seafood
Clam Bellies, Mac's Shack on the Pier Another super-popular summer locavore activity is clamming, with the three most popular types being the littleneck clam, soft shell and distinctively large quahog. If you don't want to buy a clamming license, or you just don't want to get your feet wet, deep fried Wellfleet clam bellies from Mac's Shack make for the greatest lunch you'll ever eat off paper plates. Stuffed Quahog, Spanky's, Hyannis Port Also for shellfish lovers: Try stuffed quahog, a slightly fancier version of the local catch, next time you're out for afternoon beers at a Cape Cod hangout like Spanky's. If you try making this at home, Tom Dodd advises, "It's not a law to put red or green peppers in the stuffing." Many local restaurants do, but purists prefer to really savor the clam meat. Photo Credit: Lena Katz
Oyster beds, East Dennis Oyster Farm When going in search of shellfish, there could hardly be a more idyllic time and place than early morning low tide on Cape Cod. Locals with four-wheel trucks (and beach parking permits) drive right onto the tidal flats and sunbathe, jog and drink beers in the mellow sun. Oyster lovers know to head straight for East Dennis Oyster Farm, which is one of the only oyster farms in the region that's licensed for direct-to-consumer sales. You can get fresh-from-the-sea oysters for $1 apiece — a gourmand's dream. Photo Courtesy of Sea Crest Beach Hotel
Clambake, Sea Crest Take all the delicious things you find around the Cape (minus fruits), go out to the beach, and cook them on hot rocks and seaweed. That's a traditional clambake and as this picture proves, the name is misleading. Lobster and corn are the stars of the mélange. This is a must-try, but there's no need to make it yourself — most local restaurants serve a tasty version, and some do the full beach cookout for guests. Photo Courtesy of Mayflower Brewing
Mayflower Beer Did the Pilgrims know, when carving out their legacy around Plymouth and Provincetown, that a few hundred years later they'd be immortalized via excellent microbrews? We're thinking they wouldn't mind, as this smoky lager could have passed for a hearty meal in the 1600s. Mayflower Beer is one of countless obscure discoveries you'll stumble upon in local liquor stores.Photo Courtesy of Shutters
George's Bank Sea Scallops at Shutters, East Falmouth When that one special occasion date night comes around, it's not as important that you dress up — the important thing is to appreciate the food transformation. From humble picnic fare, the day's fresh catch becomes fine cuisine at the hands of Shutters' talented chefs who are blessed to have so many great ingredients within arm's reach.


Shellfishing 101

Recreational shellfishing is an easy Cape Cod pleasure: even for raw rookies who don’t know a cherrystone from a little neck.

Photos by Maddie McNamara

There is something so simple, yet deep-down satisfying about shellfishing. On a warm summer day you can pull on a pair of shorts, a t-shirt, and a pair of old sneakers, grab your rake and basket and head to the beach to dig for steamers. Later, you can steam up these soft shell clams and serve them hot with bowls of clam broth and melted butter to grateful friends and family.

A good trick for finding steamers is to look for small spouts of water, or holes in the mud, on tidal flats. When we were kids, we used to drop the biggest rock we could find on the mud to make the steamers spout before they burrowed back to safety.

If you are a fan of quahogs (there are two sizes of these hard-shelled clams: larger cherrystone clams for chowder, stuffing, or sauces, and little necks, which are great served raw on the half shell), you can walk out until the water reaches your knees and drag a special shellfishing “basket” rake through the sandy mud for bounty. It’s a good idea to attach a floatable device (we sometimes use a shortened child’s styrofoam ‘noodle’) around your wire basket so you don’t lose it.

This is more work than just scratching around with a long handled tines rake such as that used for digging steamers, requiring a little more muscle. The good news is that quahogs are much closer to the surface of the sand, so it can be easier to fill your basket and head home to make chowder or one of our favorites, spaghetti with clam sauce made with lots of garlic, olive oil, and fresh chopped parsley or basil. (Enjoy this recipe on our website at capecodlife.com/clamsandpasta.)

On brisk fall and winter mornings when the oyster beds are open, you can bundle up in several layers, pull on your waders or your high rubber boots and a pair of Neoprene gloves (both of these are essential for cool season shellfishing and can be bought at several of the local shellfishing supply stores listed at the end of this article) and head out for one of God’s greatest gifts—Cape Cod oysters.

I have gone oystering on cold winter mornings in West Barnstable and Osterville. Last November, my son and I arrived at the flats off Scudder Lane as the sun rose over Cape Cod Bay. The golden and rose-colored light glistened on literally thousands of oysters on the flats, treasure for the taking.

It was 40 degrees out and our fingers—even with wool gloves encased in Neoprene—were soon stiff from the cold. We endured, though, and gathered our allotted bushel (every Cape town has their own limitations on how many oysters or clams you can harvest), carefully checked the size of each with our gauge (oysters must be three inches or more for harvesting), and headed home.


Shellfishing 101

Recreational shellfishing is an easy Cape Cod pleasure: even for raw rookies who don’t know a cherrystone from a little neck.

Photos by Maddie McNamara

There is something so simple, yet deep-down satisfying about shellfishing. On a warm summer day you can pull on a pair of shorts, a t-shirt, and a pair of old sneakers, grab your rake and basket and head to the beach to dig for steamers. Later, you can steam up these soft shell clams and serve them hot with bowls of clam broth and melted butter to grateful friends and family.

A good trick for finding steamers is to look for small spouts of water, or holes in the mud, on tidal flats. When we were kids, we used to drop the biggest rock we could find on the mud to make the steamers spout before they burrowed back to safety.

If you are a fan of quahogs (there are two sizes of these hard-shelled clams: larger cherrystone clams for chowder, stuffing, or sauces, and little necks, which are great served raw on the half shell), you can walk out until the water reaches your knees and drag a special shellfishing “basket” rake through the sandy mud for bounty. It’s a good idea to attach a floatable device (we sometimes use a shortened child’s styrofoam ‘noodle’) around your wire basket so you don’t lose it.

This is more work than just scratching around with a long handled tines rake such as that used for digging steamers, requiring a little more muscle. The good news is that quahogs are much closer to the surface of the sand, so it can be easier to fill your basket and head home to make chowder or one of our favorites, spaghetti with clam sauce made with lots of garlic, olive oil, and fresh chopped parsley or basil. (Enjoy this recipe on our website at capecodlife.com/clamsandpasta.)

On brisk fall and winter mornings when the oyster beds are open, you can bundle up in several layers, pull on your waders or your high rubber boots and a pair of Neoprene gloves (both of these are essential for cool season shellfishing and can be bought at several of the local shellfishing supply stores listed at the end of this article) and head out for one of God’s greatest gifts—Cape Cod oysters.

I have gone oystering on cold winter mornings in West Barnstable and Osterville. Last November, my son and I arrived at the flats off Scudder Lane as the sun rose over Cape Cod Bay. The golden and rose-colored light glistened on literally thousands of oysters on the flats, treasure for the taking.

It was 40 degrees out and our fingers—even with wool gloves encased in Neoprene—were soon stiff from the cold. We endured, though, and gathered our allotted bushel (every Cape town has their own limitations on how many oysters or clams you can harvest), carefully checked the size of each with our gauge (oysters must be three inches or more for harvesting), and headed home.


Shellfishing 101

Recreational shellfishing is an easy Cape Cod pleasure: even for raw rookies who don’t know a cherrystone from a little neck.

Photos by Maddie McNamara

There is something so simple, yet deep-down satisfying about shellfishing. On a warm summer day you can pull on a pair of shorts, a t-shirt, and a pair of old sneakers, grab your rake and basket and head to the beach to dig for steamers. Later, you can steam up these soft shell clams and serve them hot with bowls of clam broth and melted butter to grateful friends and family.

A good trick for finding steamers is to look for small spouts of water, or holes in the mud, on tidal flats. When we were kids, we used to drop the biggest rock we could find on the mud to make the steamers spout before they burrowed back to safety.

If you are a fan of quahogs (there are two sizes of these hard-shelled clams: larger cherrystone clams for chowder, stuffing, or sauces, and little necks, which are great served raw on the half shell), you can walk out until the water reaches your knees and drag a special shellfishing “basket” rake through the sandy mud for bounty. It’s a good idea to attach a floatable device (we sometimes use a shortened child’s styrofoam ‘noodle’) around your wire basket so you don’t lose it.

This is more work than just scratching around with a long handled tines rake such as that used for digging steamers, requiring a little more muscle. The good news is that quahogs are much closer to the surface of the sand, so it can be easier to fill your basket and head home to make chowder or one of our favorites, spaghetti with clam sauce made with lots of garlic, olive oil, and fresh chopped parsley or basil. (Enjoy this recipe on our website at capecodlife.com/clamsandpasta.)

On brisk fall and winter mornings when the oyster beds are open, you can bundle up in several layers, pull on your waders or your high rubber boots and a pair of Neoprene gloves (both of these are essential for cool season shellfishing and can be bought at several of the local shellfishing supply stores listed at the end of this article) and head out for one of God’s greatest gifts—Cape Cod oysters.

I have gone oystering on cold winter mornings in West Barnstable and Osterville. Last November, my son and I arrived at the flats off Scudder Lane as the sun rose over Cape Cod Bay. The golden and rose-colored light glistened on literally thousands of oysters on the flats, treasure for the taking.

It was 40 degrees out and our fingers—even with wool gloves encased in Neoprene—were soon stiff from the cold. We endured, though, and gathered our allotted bushel (every Cape town has their own limitations on how many oysters or clams you can harvest), carefully checked the size of each with our gauge (oysters must be three inches or more for harvesting), and headed home.


Shellfishing 101

Recreational shellfishing is an easy Cape Cod pleasure: even for raw rookies who don’t know a cherrystone from a little neck.

Photos by Maddie McNamara

There is something so simple, yet deep-down satisfying about shellfishing. On a warm summer day you can pull on a pair of shorts, a t-shirt, and a pair of old sneakers, grab your rake and basket and head to the beach to dig for steamers. Later, you can steam up these soft shell clams and serve them hot with bowls of clam broth and melted butter to grateful friends and family.

A good trick for finding steamers is to look for small spouts of water, or holes in the mud, on tidal flats. When we were kids, we used to drop the biggest rock we could find on the mud to make the steamers spout before they burrowed back to safety.

If you are a fan of quahogs (there are two sizes of these hard-shelled clams: larger cherrystone clams for chowder, stuffing, or sauces, and little necks, which are great served raw on the half shell), you can walk out until the water reaches your knees and drag a special shellfishing “basket” rake through the sandy mud for bounty. It’s a good idea to attach a floatable device (we sometimes use a shortened child’s styrofoam ‘noodle’) around your wire basket so you don’t lose it.

This is more work than just scratching around with a long handled tines rake such as that used for digging steamers, requiring a little more muscle. The good news is that quahogs are much closer to the surface of the sand, so it can be easier to fill your basket and head home to make chowder or one of our favorites, spaghetti with clam sauce made with lots of garlic, olive oil, and fresh chopped parsley or basil. (Enjoy this recipe on our website at capecodlife.com/clamsandpasta.)

On brisk fall and winter mornings when the oyster beds are open, you can bundle up in several layers, pull on your waders or your high rubber boots and a pair of Neoprene gloves (both of these are essential for cool season shellfishing and can be bought at several of the local shellfishing supply stores listed at the end of this article) and head out for one of God’s greatest gifts—Cape Cod oysters.

I have gone oystering on cold winter mornings in West Barnstable and Osterville. Last November, my son and I arrived at the flats off Scudder Lane as the sun rose over Cape Cod Bay. The golden and rose-colored light glistened on literally thousands of oysters on the flats, treasure for the taking.

It was 40 degrees out and our fingers—even with wool gloves encased in Neoprene—were soon stiff from the cold. We endured, though, and gathered our allotted bushel (every Cape town has their own limitations on how many oysters or clams you can harvest), carefully checked the size of each with our gauge (oysters must be three inches or more for harvesting), and headed home.


Shellfishing 101

Recreational shellfishing is an easy Cape Cod pleasure: even for raw rookies who don’t know a cherrystone from a little neck.

Photos by Maddie McNamara

There is something so simple, yet deep-down satisfying about shellfishing. On a warm summer day you can pull on a pair of shorts, a t-shirt, and a pair of old sneakers, grab your rake and basket and head to the beach to dig for steamers. Later, you can steam up these soft shell clams and serve them hot with bowls of clam broth and melted butter to grateful friends and family.

A good trick for finding steamers is to look for small spouts of water, or holes in the mud, on tidal flats. When we were kids, we used to drop the biggest rock we could find on the mud to make the steamers spout before they burrowed back to safety.

If you are a fan of quahogs (there are two sizes of these hard-shelled clams: larger cherrystone clams for chowder, stuffing, or sauces, and little necks, which are great served raw on the half shell), you can walk out until the water reaches your knees and drag a special shellfishing “basket” rake through the sandy mud for bounty. It’s a good idea to attach a floatable device (we sometimes use a shortened child’s styrofoam ‘noodle’) around your wire basket so you don’t lose it.

This is more work than just scratching around with a long handled tines rake such as that used for digging steamers, requiring a little more muscle. The good news is that quahogs are much closer to the surface of the sand, so it can be easier to fill your basket and head home to make chowder or one of our favorites, spaghetti with clam sauce made with lots of garlic, olive oil, and fresh chopped parsley or basil. (Enjoy this recipe on our website at capecodlife.com/clamsandpasta.)

On brisk fall and winter mornings when the oyster beds are open, you can bundle up in several layers, pull on your waders or your high rubber boots and a pair of Neoprene gloves (both of these are essential for cool season shellfishing and can be bought at several of the local shellfishing supply stores listed at the end of this article) and head out for one of God’s greatest gifts—Cape Cod oysters.

I have gone oystering on cold winter mornings in West Barnstable and Osterville. Last November, my son and I arrived at the flats off Scudder Lane as the sun rose over Cape Cod Bay. The golden and rose-colored light glistened on literally thousands of oysters on the flats, treasure for the taking.

It was 40 degrees out and our fingers—even with wool gloves encased in Neoprene—were soon stiff from the cold. We endured, though, and gathered our allotted bushel (every Cape town has their own limitations on how many oysters or clams you can harvest), carefully checked the size of each with our gauge (oysters must be three inches or more for harvesting), and headed home.


Shellfishing 101

Recreational shellfishing is an easy Cape Cod pleasure: even for raw rookies who don’t know a cherrystone from a little neck.

Photos by Maddie McNamara

There is something so simple, yet deep-down satisfying about shellfishing. On a warm summer day you can pull on a pair of shorts, a t-shirt, and a pair of old sneakers, grab your rake and basket and head to the beach to dig for steamers. Later, you can steam up these soft shell clams and serve them hot with bowls of clam broth and melted butter to grateful friends and family.

A good trick for finding steamers is to look for small spouts of water, or holes in the mud, on tidal flats. When we were kids, we used to drop the biggest rock we could find on the mud to make the steamers spout before they burrowed back to safety.

If you are a fan of quahogs (there are two sizes of these hard-shelled clams: larger cherrystone clams for chowder, stuffing, or sauces, and little necks, which are great served raw on the half shell), you can walk out until the water reaches your knees and drag a special shellfishing “basket” rake through the sandy mud for bounty. It’s a good idea to attach a floatable device (we sometimes use a shortened child’s styrofoam ‘noodle’) around your wire basket so you don’t lose it.

This is more work than just scratching around with a long handled tines rake such as that used for digging steamers, requiring a little more muscle. The good news is that quahogs are much closer to the surface of the sand, so it can be easier to fill your basket and head home to make chowder or one of our favorites, spaghetti with clam sauce made with lots of garlic, olive oil, and fresh chopped parsley or basil. (Enjoy this recipe on our website at capecodlife.com/clamsandpasta.)

On brisk fall and winter mornings when the oyster beds are open, you can bundle up in several layers, pull on your waders or your high rubber boots and a pair of Neoprene gloves (both of these are essential for cool season shellfishing and can be bought at several of the local shellfishing supply stores listed at the end of this article) and head out for one of God’s greatest gifts—Cape Cod oysters.

I have gone oystering on cold winter mornings in West Barnstable and Osterville. Last November, my son and I arrived at the flats off Scudder Lane as the sun rose over Cape Cod Bay. The golden and rose-colored light glistened on literally thousands of oysters on the flats, treasure for the taking.

It was 40 degrees out and our fingers—even with wool gloves encased in Neoprene—were soon stiff from the cold. We endured, though, and gathered our allotted bushel (every Cape town has their own limitations on how many oysters or clams you can harvest), carefully checked the size of each with our gauge (oysters must be three inches or more for harvesting), and headed home.


Shellfishing 101

Recreational shellfishing is an easy Cape Cod pleasure: even for raw rookies who don’t know a cherrystone from a little neck.

Photos by Maddie McNamara

There is something so simple, yet deep-down satisfying about shellfishing. On a warm summer day you can pull on a pair of shorts, a t-shirt, and a pair of old sneakers, grab your rake and basket and head to the beach to dig for steamers. Later, you can steam up these soft shell clams and serve them hot with bowls of clam broth and melted butter to grateful friends and family.

A good trick for finding steamers is to look for small spouts of water, or holes in the mud, on tidal flats. When we were kids, we used to drop the biggest rock we could find on the mud to make the steamers spout before they burrowed back to safety.

If you are a fan of quahogs (there are two sizes of these hard-shelled clams: larger cherrystone clams for chowder, stuffing, or sauces, and little necks, which are great served raw on the half shell), you can walk out until the water reaches your knees and drag a special shellfishing “basket” rake through the sandy mud for bounty. It’s a good idea to attach a floatable device (we sometimes use a shortened child’s styrofoam ‘noodle’) around your wire basket so you don’t lose it.

This is more work than just scratching around with a long handled tines rake such as that used for digging steamers, requiring a little more muscle. The good news is that quahogs are much closer to the surface of the sand, so it can be easier to fill your basket and head home to make chowder or one of our favorites, spaghetti with clam sauce made with lots of garlic, olive oil, and fresh chopped parsley or basil. (Enjoy this recipe on our website at capecodlife.com/clamsandpasta.)

On brisk fall and winter mornings when the oyster beds are open, you can bundle up in several layers, pull on your waders or your high rubber boots and a pair of Neoprene gloves (both of these are essential for cool season shellfishing and can be bought at several of the local shellfishing supply stores listed at the end of this article) and head out for one of God’s greatest gifts—Cape Cod oysters.

I have gone oystering on cold winter mornings in West Barnstable and Osterville. Last November, my son and I arrived at the flats off Scudder Lane as the sun rose over Cape Cod Bay. The golden and rose-colored light glistened on literally thousands of oysters on the flats, treasure for the taking.

It was 40 degrees out and our fingers—even with wool gloves encased in Neoprene—were soon stiff from the cold. We endured, though, and gathered our allotted bushel (every Cape town has their own limitations on how many oysters or clams you can harvest), carefully checked the size of each with our gauge (oysters must be three inches or more for harvesting), and headed home.


Shellfishing 101

Recreational shellfishing is an easy Cape Cod pleasure: even for raw rookies who don’t know a cherrystone from a little neck.

Photos by Maddie McNamara

There is something so simple, yet deep-down satisfying about shellfishing. On a warm summer day you can pull on a pair of shorts, a t-shirt, and a pair of old sneakers, grab your rake and basket and head to the beach to dig for steamers. Later, you can steam up these soft shell clams and serve them hot with bowls of clam broth and melted butter to grateful friends and family.

A good trick for finding steamers is to look for small spouts of water, or holes in the mud, on tidal flats. When we were kids, we used to drop the biggest rock we could find on the mud to make the steamers spout before they burrowed back to safety.

If you are a fan of quahogs (there are two sizes of these hard-shelled clams: larger cherrystone clams for chowder, stuffing, or sauces, and little necks, which are great served raw on the half shell), you can walk out until the water reaches your knees and drag a special shellfishing “basket” rake through the sandy mud for bounty. It’s a good idea to attach a floatable device (we sometimes use a shortened child’s styrofoam ‘noodle’) around your wire basket so you don’t lose it.

This is more work than just scratching around with a long handled tines rake such as that used for digging steamers, requiring a little more muscle. The good news is that quahogs are much closer to the surface of the sand, so it can be easier to fill your basket and head home to make chowder or one of our favorites, spaghetti with clam sauce made with lots of garlic, olive oil, and fresh chopped parsley or basil. (Enjoy this recipe on our website at capecodlife.com/clamsandpasta.)

On brisk fall and winter mornings when the oyster beds are open, you can bundle up in several layers, pull on your waders or your high rubber boots and a pair of Neoprene gloves (both of these are essential for cool season shellfishing and can be bought at several of the local shellfishing supply stores listed at the end of this article) and head out for one of God’s greatest gifts—Cape Cod oysters.

I have gone oystering on cold winter mornings in West Barnstable and Osterville. Last November, my son and I arrived at the flats off Scudder Lane as the sun rose over Cape Cod Bay. The golden and rose-colored light glistened on literally thousands of oysters on the flats, treasure for the taking.

It was 40 degrees out and our fingers—even with wool gloves encased in Neoprene—were soon stiff from the cold. We endured, though, and gathered our allotted bushel (every Cape town has their own limitations on how many oysters or clams you can harvest), carefully checked the size of each with our gauge (oysters must be three inches or more for harvesting), and headed home.


Shellfishing 101

Recreational shellfishing is an easy Cape Cod pleasure: even for raw rookies who don’t know a cherrystone from a little neck.

Photos by Maddie McNamara

There is something so simple, yet deep-down satisfying about shellfishing. On a warm summer day you can pull on a pair of shorts, a t-shirt, and a pair of old sneakers, grab your rake and basket and head to the beach to dig for steamers. Later, you can steam up these soft shell clams and serve them hot with bowls of clam broth and melted butter to grateful friends and family.

A good trick for finding steamers is to look for small spouts of water, or holes in the mud, on tidal flats. When we were kids, we used to drop the biggest rock we could find on the mud to make the steamers spout before they burrowed back to safety.

If you are a fan of quahogs (there are two sizes of these hard-shelled clams: larger cherrystone clams for chowder, stuffing, or sauces, and little necks, which are great served raw on the half shell), you can walk out until the water reaches your knees and drag a special shellfishing “basket” rake through the sandy mud for bounty. It’s a good idea to attach a floatable device (we sometimes use a shortened child’s styrofoam ‘noodle’) around your wire basket so you don’t lose it.

This is more work than just scratching around with a long handled tines rake such as that used for digging steamers, requiring a little more muscle. The good news is that quahogs are much closer to the surface of the sand, so it can be easier to fill your basket and head home to make chowder or one of our favorites, spaghetti with clam sauce made with lots of garlic, olive oil, and fresh chopped parsley or basil. (Enjoy this recipe on our website at capecodlife.com/clamsandpasta.)

On brisk fall and winter mornings when the oyster beds are open, you can bundle up in several layers, pull on your waders or your high rubber boots and a pair of Neoprene gloves (both of these are essential for cool season shellfishing and can be bought at several of the local shellfishing supply stores listed at the end of this article) and head out for one of God’s greatest gifts—Cape Cod oysters.

I have gone oystering on cold winter mornings in West Barnstable and Osterville. Last November, my son and I arrived at the flats off Scudder Lane as the sun rose over Cape Cod Bay. The golden and rose-colored light glistened on literally thousands of oysters on the flats, treasure for the taking.

It was 40 degrees out and our fingers—even with wool gloves encased in Neoprene—were soon stiff from the cold. We endured, though, and gathered our allotted bushel (every Cape town has their own limitations on how many oysters or clams you can harvest), carefully checked the size of each with our gauge (oysters must be three inches or more for harvesting), and headed home.


Shellfishing 101

Recreational shellfishing is an easy Cape Cod pleasure: even for raw rookies who don’t know a cherrystone from a little neck.

Photos by Maddie McNamara

There is something so simple, yet deep-down satisfying about shellfishing. On a warm summer day you can pull on a pair of shorts, a t-shirt, and a pair of old sneakers, grab your rake and basket and head to the beach to dig for steamers. Later, you can steam up these soft shell clams and serve them hot with bowls of clam broth and melted butter to grateful friends and family.

A good trick for finding steamers is to look for small spouts of water, or holes in the mud, on tidal flats. When we were kids, we used to drop the biggest rock we could find on the mud to make the steamers spout before they burrowed back to safety.

If you are a fan of quahogs (there are two sizes of these hard-shelled clams: larger cherrystone clams for chowder, stuffing, or sauces, and little necks, which are great served raw on the half shell), you can walk out until the water reaches your knees and drag a special shellfishing “basket” rake through the sandy mud for bounty. It’s a good idea to attach a floatable device (we sometimes use a shortened child’s styrofoam ‘noodle’) around your wire basket so you don’t lose it.

This is more work than just scratching around with a long handled tines rake such as that used for digging steamers, requiring a little more muscle. The good news is that quahogs are much closer to the surface of the sand, so it can be easier to fill your basket and head home to make chowder or one of our favorites, spaghetti with clam sauce made with lots of garlic, olive oil, and fresh chopped parsley or basil. (Enjoy this recipe on our website at capecodlife.com/clamsandpasta.)

On brisk fall and winter mornings when the oyster beds are open, you can bundle up in several layers, pull on your waders or your high rubber boots and a pair of Neoprene gloves (both of these are essential for cool season shellfishing and can be bought at several of the local shellfishing supply stores listed at the end of this article) and head out for one of God’s greatest gifts—Cape Cod oysters.

I have gone oystering on cold winter mornings in West Barnstable and Osterville. Last November, my son and I arrived at the flats off Scudder Lane as the sun rose over Cape Cod Bay. The golden and rose-colored light glistened on literally thousands of oysters on the flats, treasure for the taking.

It was 40 degrees out and our fingers—even with wool gloves encased in Neoprene—were soon stiff from the cold. We endured, though, and gathered our allotted bushel (every Cape town has their own limitations on how many oysters or clams you can harvest), carefully checked the size of each with our gauge (oysters must be three inches or more for harvesting), and headed home.