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Long Island Clams “Quahogs”



            Clams have a great history out in Long Island, before the inhabitance of foreigners, clams where a substantial source of food for many tribes          

The Great South Bay of Long Island has long been known for its abundance of shellfish. During the 1970s the abundance and harvest of hard clams was so great that the bay was often called a “hard clam factory”. At one time, Long Island’s Great South Bay was the world’s richest clam factory, and New York provided more than 60% of the nation’s hard clams. It was the east coast’s leading producer of littleneck, cherrystone and chowder clams. Today the annual harvest of hard clams has fallen by over 99 percent from its peak in 1976. The history of clams in the Great South Bay is one of the rise and fall.

            During this time there where many different clam companies opening, but one in particular was Doxsee Clam Company, it was founded by James H. Doxsee, who was born in Islip in 1825. Doxsee opened the first Long Island clam processing plant in Islip in 1865, which ran until1900. The clams harvested were sold to New York City markets as well as local residents. They heavily advertised their products, including the prized clams along with clam juice, which was believed to have medicinal uses, and their world famous clam chowder. In 1900 the company ceased operations due to the depletion of clams throughout Great South Bay.

The Ocean Clamor the Narragansett Indian word “Quahog “is a much slower growing species than the Sea Clam and takes 25-30 years to mature. These clams have been calculated to live as long as 229 years! Most Ocean Clams which are sold commercially range in age from 40 to 100 years old. There are a number of different species of clams that are sold commercially. The clams which are eaten at raw bars and sold in the shell are mainly inshore clams harvested in relatively shallow waters and tidal estuaries, and mainly are two types. The first clam species is the “Surf” or “Sea Clam” and the second variety is the “Ocean Clam” or “Quahog”.

I connected Whitman with Clams “quahogs” in “Leaves of Grass” with native Americans.  He spoke and wrote so much about them, that I had to include one of the big partsof his interest with Long Island Clams.

 Whitman is comparing himself to a clam as he puts it in his poem. The clam lays perfectly in it’s callous shell, it is safe,it has nothing controlling it, it lays to be as it destined .

 To be in any form, I think that explains his personality so well! he was that man who had a kindleness with his world and fellow man. Whitman had no shell protecting his personality nor did he hide his personality. He may had rewrote his work to comform to society,(conductors)  but he tryed to exprees how he felt  in many ways. In some ways I feel as though Whitman hid his real personality, and was afarid to show his true nature (as a Rebel, homosexual and for his free sprited nature).



Walt Whitman’s Quahog

To be in any form, what is that?
If nothing lay more developed the quahog and its callous shell were enough. 

Mine is no callous shell,
I have instant conductors all over me whether I pass or stop,
They seize every object and lead it harmlessly through me.

I merely stir, press, feel with my fingers, and am happy,
To touch my person to some one else’s is about as much as I can stand.

Is this then a touch? . . . . quivering me to a new identity,
Flames and ether making a rush for my veins,
Treacherous tip of me reaching and crowding to help them,
My flesh and blood playing out lightning, to strike what is hardly different from

Filed by nicoleg at October 19th, 2009 under


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