Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Greater Boston Area >
Sep 3, 2002 08:40 AM

Clam Box surchage

  • j

Went there last weekend for the first time in years and was surprised to see the "due to a shortage of clams, please add $1 to all clam dishes" (or something to that effect). I thought that clam shortage was long over and certainly nowhere else this summer has had a sign like that. Took 30 min to place an order at 2PM on a Sat. but the clams and onion rings were quite good. Is that sign always up there?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Due to the much needed rain arriving just prior to the Labor Day weekend, local clam flats from Gloucester, Essex, Ipswich, Rowley, Newbury and elsewhere nearby have been closed. Due to marginally effective septic systems in several coastal communities, rainfall causes an increase in pollution and the flats must be closed to protect public health. One thing you don't want to ever eat is a 'bad clam'!!! In spite of previous posts indicating that the closures of clam flats are often political and depends on how many bushels the clam warden has stashed away or some other BS theory, the flats must be closed per state law. So with supply way down due to widespread local clam flats closures, clams must be shipped in from Maine, Cape Cod (inferior product) and Canada. High demand, low local supply, distant suppliers, high prices. Look for the flats to reopen later this week as the weather clears and the rivers do too. With all the rain this weekend, the flats will likely stay closed another few days. So if its Essex or Ipswich clams you seek, it will have to wait until next weekend. ALWAYS ASK as the local supply is very short even when its good.

    1 Reply
    1. re: 1crispydude

      or maybe one of the daughters just started college....

    2. I saw the same sign when I went there last Tuesday, before all the rain started. So it's been there at least that long, and not related to the recent weather we've been having. The signs looked a little beat up, like they had been up for a little while already.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Chris VR

        It rained lots well before last Tuesday. There have been very few digging days in the last few weeks, trust me. And the sign is tattered at the Clam Box because they post it up every time the local flats are closed and supply tightens up. The facts: Local flats have been closed intermittently over the last few weeks due to rainfall and it effects the prices. No conspiracies, no one is price gouging, clams are always in short supply and prices are highest the last two weeks of August, no matter what. Add a few rainstorms and steamers are $4.25 a pound if you can find them. Pre-shucked gallons of clams can double in price and the vendors need to recoup.

      2. we waited an hour at the clam box on Sunday at 2pm. we thought the clams were really good, but were we just starving I wonder? On sunday night we had them again at Farnhams w/ no wait and beers. They were good too, but maybe not as good as the clam box, but it could have been that we'd eaten enough clams already that day and were a little bit fried out.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Louise8

          I was in the same line Sunday. Got there at 1:00 and placed my order at 2:00. Could not believe the wait. Clams were delicious, but I was beyond hungry by the time I ate them.

        2. I work at the Clam Box. The price of clams rises every year about two weeks before Labor day. Whether the flats are open or not. We are now paying $122.00 a gallon thats $15.25 a pound for clams. We held off from putting on a surcharge for as long as possible (8/28) and will remove it as soon as possible. Sorry about the increase but the only way around it is to buy frozen. And we will not do that. I would rather pay more for good clams than save a buck for bad ones.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Dale

            "I would rather pay more for good clams than save a buck for bad ones."

            Dale, it's that attitude that keeps us coming back! Thanks for standing up for quality!

            1. re: Dale

              I Guess those that know post and also watch this board.