The Clam Festival, Yarmouth Maine

For the past 49 years, the tiny Maine town of Yarmouth has held a clam festival. Located just 20 minutes north of Portland, Yarmouth has a vibrant fishing economy, not unlike most Maine towns along the coast. Yarmouth is also the home of Delorme map company. Their HUGE globe made me want to get back on the road! So. Many. Places. 

Interestingly, the Clam Festival benefits area non-profits. All other town festivals I’ve been to welcome food vendors from anywhere who don’t keep that money in the area. But at the Clam Festival, all of the food booths were run by a church, a school group, or another non-profit. It was clear that the locals were proud of their town and wanted to support their local groups.

At the festival, there were local artists selling their crafts, food booths - of course, live music, horse carriage rides, and contests. To me, the contests were the most interesting. We missed the clam shucking contest, but we made it in time for the firefighter contest, which was fun, although most of the time was spent just setting up for the next relay course. We also watched part of the boat race that had sea kayaks, canoes, and stand up paddle boards racing a 5 mile coarse. The winner finished in 45 minutes! My arms hurt just watching him! Apparently, on the second day of the festival, a pretty famous bike race is held where professional bicyclists travel from near and far to compete. 

After not eating fish for 18 years, I started incorporating fish into my diet this past April. I did it mostly for the health benefits of lean protein, vitamins D and B12, calcium, and the Omega 3 fatty acids that are found in fish. Yes, these nutritional powerhouses can be found in non-meat sources, but not in the quantity that is found in fish. As an added bonus, eating fish makes traveling the world much, much, much easier.

So I tried steamed clams. It seemed rather appropriate being at a clam festival! None of us had tried them before, and we weren’t really sure how to eat them. We quickly realized that if we rinsed the clams in the bowl of broth, most of the grit came out. Then, we dipped them in melted butter. The texture takes some getting used to. If they are cooked well, they melt in your mouth and have a wonderful umami flavor. If they are overcooked, they are a little rubbery and not nearly as delicious. I didn’t eat the undercooked one. Ew. I think I would like them better in a tomato sauce or a soup. 

All in all, the Yarmouth Clam Festival was a good time and a great way to experience authentic Maine culture. 

Martin and his cousin have matching outfits!