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Owner Corner
Clam Digging Builds Friendships
August 2010

Clam digging brings owners Carole and Darrell Wolfe, and Billie Ann and Evor Kumpula together time and again along the Oregon coast. The Kumpula’s introduced the Wolfe’s to the activity and the Wolfe’s introduced the Kumpula’s to WorldMark®. With both couples being owners they enjoy this and many other activities together while staying with WorldMark.

On a recent trip to the coast, they invited Assistant Editor of Destinations, Alyssa Moore, into their condo for a first-hand lesson in clam digging and clam cleaning while sharing their WorldMark experience.

How did your day begin?
[Darrell] “Up at 5:00 a.m. for coffee and muffins, out on the beach for low tide at 5:30 a.m. with boots, clam guns and shovels. We stay out until we have each caught our limit – 15 razor clams. It takes the Kumpula’s no-time to catch theirs whereas we have to work for ours. Evor used to clam commercially out here for several years.”

How can you tell when and where to dig?
[Carole] “You can see the clam neck and a ‘V’ shape in the sand. Sometimes they squirt - that’s how you know they are there.”

[Evor] “You can dig most of the year, but nobody digs in the winter because it is so rough. Spring clams are typically the best and fattest. Much better eating – tender, bigger and fatter! You have to dig when the tide is way out. For example, this month (May), there are two very low tides and next month (June) there is one. You just have to check. From July 15 – Sept. 15 they cut it off and you can’t clam because they are spawning.”

Now that you are back at the condo, what’s next?
[Darrel] “Bloody Mary’s and clam cleaning! I’m the bartender, Carole is the support staff, Evor preps them and Billie Ann cuts and cleans – she's our quality control! Nothing gets past her!”

[Evor] “I am rinsing the clams to remove dirt. You can see they move around a bit in the bucket.”

[Carole] “They even move while you cut them!”

[Evor] “First you drop clams into hot water, very quickly. Then, almost immediately drop them into ice water to stop the cooking and keep them tender. This opens the shells and they fall right out. Billie Ann then cuts them open to remove the guts and dirt. She tries to get every bit of the black pieces out because that will make you sick. It takes time to properly clean them.”

[Darrell] “These guys are pros!”

[Billie Ann] “When I was little we used to go with our dad and all six kids! Now we go and have taken our kids too! Sort of a family tradition.”

Once all the clams are cleaned, what do you do with them?

[Carole] “You cook and eat them! Nobody cooks clams like these guys! Evor taught Darrell how to do it. I have eaten other people’s clams, and these are the best!”

[Evor] “Billie Ann does the breading – dips them into eggs, milk and flour to make a real nice crust on them. You can’t cook too long or they turn to shoe leather. Maybe two-three minutes; get them brown and that’s it! It is easy to overcook them. That’s why it’s hard to get them in restaurants. They have to cook them ahead of time and the clams can get tough.”

[Carole] “We vacuum pack the clams we can’t eat and freeze them for later. Half of Albany, Ore. will invite themselves when the Kumpula’s say they are making a clam dinner.”

[Billie Ann] “We like to share them with people who love them.”

Carole & Darrell Wolfe - Owners since September 1995
Albany, Oregon
Billie Ann & Evor Kumpula – Owners since July 2003
Albany, Oregon

TOP PHOTO(left to right): • The Wolfe and Kumpula Clan – Conner Kumpula (grandson) • Bob Kumpula (son and Owner) • BillieAnn Kumpula • Carol Wolfe • Darrell Wolfe, Evor Kumpula • Montie Torgeson (father-in law of Bob)

BOTTOM PHOTO (left to right): • Darrell Wolfe • Carole Wolfe • Billie Ann Kumpula • Evor Kumpula

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