Food Under Your Feet

Craving the freshest seafood possible? Here’s your guide to finding clams and oysters, and where they are likely to be found, as well as how we raise and farm ours here at H.M. Terry Co.

To find oysters and clams, you have to be willing to get a little dirty. It’s all about mucking your way through the mud and sand, which holds softshell clams (steamers and razors) like treasure to be discovered. Softshells thrive on the wash of current from clear and clean ocean water. This type likes loose, granular sand. Steamers filter food from the water and as a result they often squirt water. Be on the lookout for that dimple in shallow water, as that’s what will tell you where to dig.

Oysters are generally found scattered around flats comprised of a sand and mud mixture, well below the high-tide line. You don’t have to dig much. Just pick them up and make sure they measure big enough to harvest. Oysters love salty water – in fact, the saltier, the better. The salinity is what gives them their distinct metallic taste.

Hard-shelled clams tend to hang out higher in the estuary, as they prefer moving water with a lower salinity. Because they like coves and estuaries, the mud you will encounter there is very soft. You can dig them out with your hands or a hoe-like scratcher.

Finding Clam Beds

Clam beds are parts of the seafloor that are rich in clams, or bivalve mollusks. You’ll find those beds in both deep and shallow waters near the coast. Clam beds provide a robust source of food, and are a big part of recreational and commercial fishing expeditions. You may have luck looking for parts of the seafloor that have been covered in seaweed – a surefire sign that clams are hiding in the vicinity.

Also, be on the lookout for areas of murky or cloudy water, which can indicate a high concentration of clams. Or, you can just follow the sound of waves crashing on the beach, as the surf is where such beds are located. Just be careful when harvesting clams because when you disturb their beds, they will bury themselves deep into the sand so they’re tougher to catch. Have a rake or other tool handy to gently loosen them from the mud before grabbing them.  

H.M. Terry: Our Local Touch

Known as one of the biggest clam and oyster outfits on the Eastern Seaboard, H.M. Terry Co. harvests, sorts, and packages oysters and clams for shipping, working around the clock to produce 60 to 80 million Little Neck, Middle Neck, and Pasta Neck clams, along with 10 million oysters, each year.  

Located on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, our stomping grounds are bordered by the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, peppered with creeks, coves and rivers that are considered prime real estate for all sorts of shellfish farming. Hog Island Bay is where our Sewansecott™ clam and oyster beds lie.

Situated adjacent to the Barrier Islands, these waters are certified by the U.N. as an International Reserve Biosphere, and produce shellfish with a signature sweet and salty taste that is hard to resist.

Contact HM Terry Co. For Fresh Sewansecott Oysters and Clams

Our farm-raised oysters and clams are found in the Atlantic waters of Hog Island Bay, VA. As a result, you always get fresh, tender, and nutritious oysters and clams that offer up the ideal combination of salty and sweet flavors. Order from H.M. Terry Co. today when you call us at 757-442-7006.