One day last week the tide was way, way out....shockingly way out.  In fact, boats coming in from fishing and crabbing couldn't pull their boats out because the water was down past the launch.    Taking a walk on the beach was incredible and I saw a large number of people at the water's edge and digging for something....

At the fish cleaning station near the boat launch, I was able to talk to some of the folks who showed me what they were harvesting... Geoducks!

The Geoduck (gooey-duck) is a species of very large, edible, saltwater  clam.  The common name is derived from a Native American word meaning "dig deep".

The geoduck is both one of the largest clams in the world, and one of the longest-lived animals of any type.  A Geoduck is a bivalve, which means that it has two shells hinged together. But the body of the Geoduck is so big that it spills out from the shells in a long neck called a siphon. Geoducks live in holes in the mud. They dig down into the mud and stretch their long siphon back to the muddy ocean floor so they can breathe.  It has few predators other than humans.  Their necks can grow up to three feet long.  The geoduck has a life expectancy of up to 150 years with the oldest recorded at 163 years.

The large, meaty portion that sticks out from the clam like a neck, is prized for its savory flavor. A team of American and Italian researchers analyzed the nutrients in the clam and discovered they were rich in amino acids and zinc which is said to aid the production of testosterone.

It is very popular in China where it is considered a delicacy, mostly eaten cooked in a fondue-style Chinese hot pot. In Korean cooking, geoducks are eaten raw with spicy chili sauce, sautéed, or in soups and stews. In Japan, geoduck is prepared as raw sashimi, dipped in soy sauce and wasabi.

The geoduck's high market value has created an $80 million U.S. industry mostly in Washington state and British Columbia.

The digging went on until nightfall.

Followed by a glorious sunset!

Here's a place on the internet that feature some recipes using the Geoduck...

Did you know that the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington has the Geoduck as their mascot?

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