Many of our customers ask, "Do you have any razor clams available today?"
The short answer is, it depends on the tide. Lori explains, "[Harvesters] actually shove their hands into the mud just to grab the clams and do them one by one. So it's a little bit of an arduous task. The tides do have to be either negative or particularly low, and they have to fall in daylight hours."
Customers can check when razor clams may become available by looking at tide charts. US Harbors has a great site that covers tide charts all along the US coasts. Here is an example of a tide chart:
What To Look for in the Tide Chart
To identify potential razor clam harvest times, check for 0.0 to negative tides under the "Low" column. Then, see the corresponding times and make sure they are within daylight hours outlined under the columns with the sun.
Remember, it takes diggers some time to harvest these bad boys, so one hour before sunset will not be enough time. A good example of potential razor clam availability is December 6-8, Fri - Sun. You can see on the chart that these tides are negative, low tide is after sunrise, and there is plenty of time before sunset to give the harvesters time to dig.
But there are also other considerations besides the tide!
Weather conditions tend to be the primary culprit. Sometimes it can be too windy or there may be an impending storm that will change the optimal time for harvesting. It can be a bit unpredictable, so we HIGHLY recommend to our customers to use razor clams as a special rather than an everyday menu item due to irregular supply.
Make sure to check the location of the tide charts because every area has a different tide schedule. If you want to learn more, the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife has a great article that explains the process and terminology.
Think you got what it takes to harvest your own? Watch this man dig!
Source: The Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife and The Seattle Times