http-equiv='refresh'/> Tin TeePee/Log Cabin: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Clam Growing

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Clam Growing

We’ve been here almost two months, stopped at Southern Cross Seafood many times for clams and just today decided to take a tour of their clam raising operation.  Two of our neighbors here in the RV park took the tour the other day and raved about it.

Now we are going to rave.  There is a young man named Scott who is the world champion clam grower and is obviously passionate about this food source. There at Southern Cross they do everything from beginning to end.  It was the quickest hour I’ve experienced in a long time—very interesting!

It was just the two of us on the tour and Scott was delightful.  Because there were no children around he jokingly said, “we can talk about sex.” 

Here is the table where the boy clams and the girl clams get together:

IMG_2418I forgot to ask him how you tell the difference between a boy clam and a girl clam Smile!

The clams are tricked into believing the season has changed and it’s time for breeding by slow introduction of hot/cold water.  Once the clams have bred they are a living shelled clam within 24 hours!!!  He took some from a tank and placed them on a microscope slide allowing us to view the little creatures swimming around!IMG_2417Looks like grains of sand.

The little clams swim around in various tanks eating a ton of food literally which is grown right there.  Scott said it is impossible to produce enough food for these clams—as the clams get older by the day the more they eat.  The 750 gallon tanks of food only last a day.  When the clams are two months old they are placed in clam bags and taken 3 miles off the coast to the leased from the state of Florida clam beds and left there for two years.  The clams in the short time they are held there in the laboratory eat food that is totally grown in a lab—plant based, no protein.  When out in the ocean in the clam beds the clams are eating what any clam in the ocean would eat.

This process was started 13 years ago and has been wildly successful—if you are eating clams chances are they came from Cedar Key—87% of clams eaten in the US come from Cedar Key.  It is a renewable, sustainable food source and besides that the suckers taste great!

IMG_2416Clams bound for Miami.

IMG_2421Food being grown for the clams.IMG_2422IMG_2420Still looking like grains of said but is was possible to discern individual clams.

IMG_2423Clam bags which are spread out and driven over for several days to help remove the barnacles and plant life which formed in the two years they were out in the ocean.  Each bag costs $8 so Southern Cross likes to re-use. 

Scott also told us about an operation he is involved with in the Dominic Republic raising tilapia.  Did you know tilapia eat anything BUT protein??  Another sustainable, renewable healthy resource!  

A wonderful way to spend a hour on a rainy Florida day!

I apologize for the upper photos, I had a huge smudge on my camera lens and didn’t realize it until after all those photos were taken.

IMG_2426Foggy, rainy Cedar Key today.

Guess what we are having for dinner tonight—yep, clams.


  1. Interesting stuff, even though I do not care for clams :)

  2. Great post. I love fried clam strips and tilapia so I found this very interesting. Looks like a fun tour.

  3. We're always looking for the best clam chowder... maybe we should head for Florida. And to think we spent hours digging for clams in Alaska... froze our "you know whatzies off" in the process. I love the "educational" posts... really interesting post!

  4. very interesting read who knew ?

  5. Well, not being a clam eater at all I had just better clam up on this one......

  6. not a real big fan of clams unless they are in the Manhatten Clam Chowder!..interesting tour you went on today!!

  7. Great blog and lesson about how Clams are grown. Very interesting.

  8. Great info on clams! Woulda thought most come from upper east coast.

    When yall head back, if Mike has time to stop by a Graceland Portable building dealer would appreciate if he could stop in & give me his thoughts if I might can adapt it to Montana [Reed Point] more or less full time cabin living. Talking w/a nearby dealer about shipping 2 from Miss to Mont, then would have to put on slab, erect, finish inside & put a deck around it. Nearest dealer of them is in Colorado but don't know if something similar in Montana. Looking @ a 14x40 lofted barn for main living + a 14x24 for BR & bath, connecting them side to side if can. Thanks, Jim

  9. Forgot! There is a Graceland dealer listed @ Crestview Fl near I-10 heading toward Alabama and they are listed on their website all thru SE. Nearest to MT is Colorado, tho there may be something similar in Montana I don't know about. The guy I am talking w/ has a 14x40 lofted barn he has finished as a cabin and he lives in it in MS so got the idea it may be cheap way to get this done! Thanks, jim

  10. What an interesting tour! We are gonna have to go check that out next time we are down there!

    Karen and Steve
    (Our Blog) RVing: Small House... BIG Backyard


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