Razor’s edge: The Washington razor clam phenomenon

  • Tue Oct 9th, 2018 3:51pm
  • Life

Submitted by the Lopez Island Library

The Lopez Library is pleased to present The Razor’s Edge: The Washington Razor Clam Phenomenon, a public program with author and environmental journalist David Berger. The presentation will be on Thursday, Oct. 18 at 7 p.m. at the Lopez Center. This is the next presentation in the HUMAN/NATURE fall speaker series, exploring the intersections between the human and natural worlds, co-sponsored by the Friends of the Lopez Library and a grant from the Humanities Washington Speakers Bureau.

What brings thousands of men, women, and children to Washington’s sandy coastal beaches every year, braving weather and surf? The buried treasure is known as the Pacific razor clam. Hunting and gathering these creatures has preoccupied Northwesterners from the time of the Native peoples to the present moment.

Challenging to dig, delicious to eat, and providing a sometimes heady experience of abundance, razor clams are entwined with the state’s commerce, identity and history. Berger’s lively presentation will explore the twists and turns of a quintessential Northwest activity from its pre-settlement days to the present. He will bring to light the long history of razor clamming as a subsistence, commercial, and recreational activity, and show the ways it has helped shape both the character and the psyche of this region. His presentation will illuminate the science behind the perplexing rules and restrictions that seek to keep the razor clam population healthy, and the biomechanics that makes these delicious bivalves so challenging to catch.

Berger lives in Seattle and is a Metcalf Fellow for Marine and Environmental Reporting. He has been a contributor to the food feature, “Northwest Taste,” in the Pacific Magazine, and is a former art critic for the Seattle Times. Answering the many questions generated about razor clam lore, history, and biology led to Berger writing a book, “Razor Clams: Buried Treasure of the Pacific Northwest,” published in fall 2017. All Library programs are free and open to the public. See you there on Thursday, Oct. 18, 7 p.m. at the Lopez Center.