From the Editor

Whenever we have visitors, we go quahaugging. It’s become a family tradition. My husband and I are happy to take guests to the beach, for a bike ride, and to our favorite breakfast spots. But the featured event has become collecting quahaugs and creating a magnificent dinner of chowder, clams on the half shell, and our own version of clams casino. This feast and the prerequisite clamming excursion have been the highlight of many a visit.

Truth be told, we used to be nervous about how some friends would react. There are those who seem as if they might be a tad squeamish about digging around in the muck. They ask concerned questions beforehand, and the trepidation at the water’s edge can be acute. We counter the wariness with a calm and confident entry, and as soon as someone finds the first quahaug, spirits are buoyed. By the time we have enough quahaugs for the evening meal, it’s hard to get everyone to stop.

These clamming expeditions have weathered jelly fish infestations, rain, and chilly temperatures. For the first time, we start the season with clam rakes, procured last fall at a yard sale. Hopefully that won’t deter our guests from employing the “monkey toe.” Our friend Missy perfected this technique of digging with her foot and lifting a carefully balanced quahaug to the surface. Having seen a Southern belle like her take to clamming, we no longer worry about our other friends.

Venturing out to procure dinner from the wild, returning home to fix up a feast, and savoring the fruits of our efforts have always been quintessentially Vineyard. For your own inspiration, this magazine includes two comprehensive articles on shellfish: The first appreciates their lives (page 50) and the second their demise (page 60).