Fresh Local Razor Clams and Copper River Salmon News
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Hello Everyone! It's that time of the year again! May 13th marks the season opener on the Copper River in Alaska. Welcome to the madness that always seems to arrive right along with the Kings and the Sockeye. The question is, are we talking about legitimate madness or a bunch of crazy salmon fiends with sharp elbows vying for a piece of salmon?? The truth is, it's a little of both! Read on for an in-depth explanation and some Copper River trivia.
This week we're featuring fresh locally dug Razor Clams. We'll have both live in-the-shell and cleaned clams at special pricing through Sunday. Having grown up in the midst of an exceptional razor clam habitat, I've had these delicious clams for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The basic clam cooking system is pretty much the same, whether you're doing clams and pancakes, a clam sandwich or clam linguine with fine wine. So if you're a clam fan (and who isn't?!) be sure and scroll down for the recipe!
Copper River Salmon
Okay, here's the skinny. Copper River salmon are very good salmon; exceptional even. There is a legitimate reason why they're crowned Fabulous. For the most part, salmon stop feeding when they begin their journey from the ocean to the river where they ultimately return to their birthplace. If the mouth of the river is a very long distance from their spawing grounds, salmon have to pack in that extra bit of fat and nutrients (that translates into amazing taste) to make the long journey. The Copper River salmon have about 300 miles to travel, and that's no joke it's a heck of an uphill swim. The problem, in our minds, is that there are other salmon even more tasked and (in our opinion) equally or more exceptional in taste and flavor. The Copper River marketing team has done a wonderful job of creating a sense of urgency, demand and quality around their product and in the world of Happy Meals and Twinkies, we applaud them. We also very much disagree with their use of the terms "unrivaled" and "unequaled". For these reasons, and also the projected opening wholesale pricing of nearly $30 per pound for whole, head on Kings, (translating into over $40 retail filet price), we do not expect to have salmon available from the first run over the weekend.
We will have Taku River (Alaska) salmon that are as buttery and fabulous as any salmon you'll find. Come celebrate the opening of the Copper River salmon season with something much less spendy and every bit as delicious!
If we really can't talk you out of Copper River, never fear, we'll have some from the second fishery opening slated for Monday the 17th. To tide you over, here are some details on the fishery status and some photos of the area. They're coming!!
I always love to see things in pictures, so I was really happy to get these pictures from Tami Haggen, one of our wholesale vendors. All of them are from last Wednesday, May 5th, just 7 days prior to the season opener for Copper River salmon. Thanks Tami! It sure looks cold and pristine!
The river continues to "break up". Open water is visible at many points from the Million Dollar Bridge downriver, but water levels overall remain low. There are many sea lions at the mouth of the river (on the many sandbars), but none have gone upriver at this point. This is a sign that salmon are not yet in the river, and instead are "outside". The sonar counters have not yet been deployed at the Miles Lake site.
Fresh Local Razor Clams
Razor clams are yet another true luxury that comes with living in Washington State. These tender, sweet, delicious clams are almost as fun to harvest as they are to eat. Anyone who's ever gone after a razor clam with a shovel knows how fast they are! We are lucky enough to have fresh, shovel dug clams harvested from Ocean City (just above Ocean Shores and just below Copalis Beach) by the Quinault tribal members. If you're reading this on Wednesday, your clams were dug this morning and we just get really tickled by the idea of getting fresh local sustainable delicious seafood from the beach to our shop in a matter of hours. Yay!
There is a little bit of a trick to cleaning razor clams. We do offer clams that have already been cleaned, so if you don't want to get your hands into it that far, never fear! For those of you wanting a little more experience, here's a quick video on how to clean a razor clam!
Let us know if you have any questions or need some additional advice when you're in at the shop, we can walk you through it again.