learn to dig clams & shuck oysters - Hood Canal, washington
Join us on the tide flats of Hood Canal for an intimate experience foraging and eating wild shellfish. Learn where, when and how to identify and dig manila clams and gather oysters, how to prepare your catch (shuck oysters), and enjoy a gourmet meal from your own freshly foraged shellfish prepared by a professional chef, or camp-style. Take home fresh clams and oysters for your family and friends. Leave with the knowledge and confidence to forage and prepare shellfish on your next outing.
course options & dates:
Forage with 3-course Meal Prepared by Professional Chef | $175
Saturday, February 15, 2020 | 1 PM - 6 PM
Sunday, February 16, 2020 | 1 PM - 6 PM
Forage with Camp-style hors d'oeuvres on the Beach* | $110
Saturday March 14, 2020 | NOON - 5 PM
Sunday March 15, 2020 | 1 PM - 6 PM
SCHOLARSHIPS (alumni funded)
Past participants who recognized the value of this program and wanted to pay it forward have contributed to a scholarship fund. If you require financial assistance to participate please inquire for details
Kids FREE or HALF PRICE (see Registration Page for Details)
PRIVATE WEEKDAY SESSIONS
Friday February 14, 2020 | NOON - 5 PM
Friday March 13, 2020 | 11:30 AM - 4:30 PM
CONTACT US to join a wait list for cancellations and upcoming opportunities later this spring or to request information on PRIVATE WEEKDAY COURSES.
Location: Hood Canal, near Brinnon, WA. (Exact location details provided after registration.)
INCLUDED: Gourmet Lunch/Dinner on site (steamed clams, raw & pan-fried oysters, seasonal/foraged greens, homemade sourdough bread, etc.) prepared by the famous Danish chef; wine, and all necessary tools and gear (rake, oyster knife, nets, buckets, etc.).
*For the camp-style course, the meal will be more rustic and still feature your freshly foraged shellfish. You can even have a hand in the cooking if you want to learn.
Maximum participants per course: 12 Adults
Shellfish License from the WDFW
Clothing to Bring:
Rubber boots or water shoes
Layers appropriate for weather
Equipment to Bring:
Camp chair (if you have one)
Cooler with ice for transporting extra clams and oysters home
We live in a unique place to be able to collect and enjoy such a bounty of seafood, right in our back yard. Clams and oysters (bivalves) are considered by some a superfood with their high levels of vitamins and minerals. These nutrient-rich mollusks are also a vital part of our ecosystem with their efficient filter feeding. This one-day course in Hood Canal, Washington will introduce you to an area abundant with life that spends a good portion of the time underwater, called the intertidal zone. You'll learn what to look for and how to dig and find manila clams and oysters, how to care for clams and shuck oysters, and how to cook them on the beach. We end the day with a gourmet meal prepared by a professional chef. We'll also look for edible seaweed if it presents itself. You'll take home several meals of live shellfish.
One way to protect our natural resources is to experience them firsthand to appreciate and respect our amazing biodiversity. Realizing the joy of eating wild shellfish foraged by our own hands moments earlier is a wonderful reminder that everything is connected.
Shellfish rules | weather | Tide tables| Local Information
About your instructor
Bruce is a third-generation shellfish forager in the state of Washington. His folks, who incorporated him into their fishing and foraging trips from the beginning, are the ones to thank for his love and connection to the Salish Sea. During family salmon fishing trips to Pillar Point in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Bruce's grandmother, Harriet (while not busy teaching him and his brother and sister to play cribbage) would accompany him on the beach at low tide when he was too young yet to fish all day with the adults. Countless hours of looking under rocks and observing the complex life in tide pools etched into his psyche two ideas. One, nature is awesome; and two, everything is connected. Give him a chance to show you the wonders of the intertidal zone and you won't be disappointed. You may be surprised how good it feels to tap into your inner hunter/gatherer...
About your chef
Cultivating a passion for foraging and cooking over campfires and wood stoves in his early years at his family cottage in Sweden, Taus created a life around food and spent over 20 years in the Danish restaurant industry as a chef. A lifelong fisherman and forager, he has enjoyed fly fishing for salmon and steelhead in Norway, and was cooking shellfish for his classmates at summer camp when he was nine year old in Denmark.
Having diverged from the conventional restaurant business, he is drawn more towards the wild nature of food for its health, nutrition, and taste. Hunting and gathering lends to his appreciation of where our food comes from and how it’s handled and respected. Our guests claim his meals are better than available in most restaurants. We agree.
you create community around a shared goal, which turns into a shared feast
What you have going is so special-- you create community around a shared goal, which turns into a shared feast. You supply knowledge and teach people how to do things with their own two hands. It’s accessible to a family who is looking to spend time together in nature, as well as to a solo attendee looking to build a skill.
What you have to offer is so much more interesting than the fancy "sit down and be served while you drink bottles of wine" outings. Part of what I loved about my experience with HNH is that I came home smelling like oysters!! It was up to me to forage for my food. It was up to me to do my part so that everyone could enjoy a nice meal. It was up to me to ensure I was able to take some of what I found back home. I'd rather don my XTRATUFs and wade the shoreline, take my bounty to a shady spot to have it cooked up in various ways, and all the while acquiring knowledge, hot tips, and new acquaintances. Thank you for the unforgettable day!
- Erin Gainey, Orcas Island, WA
reconnecting with a piece of my heritage
“I had a fantastic time foraging with Bruce. I learned all the essentials of clamming and oystering so that I can now do it on my own with my family. Bruce is patient, knowledgeable, and passionate about sharing his love for the outdoors with his clients. I felt like I was reconnecting with a piece of my heritage by harvesting and eating nature’s bounty right there on the beautiful tide flat. Thank you, Bruce!”
- Amy Waeschle, Poulsbo, WA
“Looking for oysters is like going on a treasure hunt.”
- Elsa, age 9
“I liked digging for clams. And measuring them!”
- Lauren, age 6
pleasure of owning your meal from start to finish
I went shellfishing last Sunday with the Human Nature Hunting School. It was a super fun day of sand, sun, and delicious eats. We hunted for clams and oysters and fried them up right on the beach. I just made a big batch of clam chowder last night with my catch. So delicious!! I would recommend this experience to anybody looking to experience the pleasure of owning your meal from start to finish.
- April Neubauer, Seattle, WA
freedom to roam and explore
Participating alongside other eager oyster novices was delightful at the Forage and a Feast last weekend. My limit of manila clams were steamed in pinot grigio, fresh limes and a fist of fresh parsley...when we finished those tasty morsels with a green salad, hubby asked me to pan fry the 18 oysters for dessert.! The freedom to roam and explore is encouraged in Bruce's class, and I highly recommend wearing the Teva sandals to feel the cool river water while packing your quarry of 40 clams back to the cookstove.
- Kristie Westergaard Miller, Tacoma, WA
I guarantee that if you take this class it will be a one-of-a-kind experience!
For anyone who’s ever wondered how to go about local oyster and clam foraging this is a really excellent class and adventure! Bruce and his team worked with our small group to make sure the entire afternoon was not only relaxing but educational as well. The "classroom" was beautiful out on the Olympic Peninsula, and it was great to get back to nature and really study the techniques on how to forage for this type of food. And the best part was the gourmet dinner Bruce's team made for us right off the beach using our recent catch. I am recommending this to my friends. I guarantee that if you take this class it will be a one-of-a-kind experience!
- Mike Enright, Seattle, WA
Caring for and Cooking Your Catch
Stop along the drive home (Hood Canal Bridge - Shine Tidelands, or along the Canal if headed south) and get a third of a bucket of fresh, clean, cool seawater (must be saltwater, not river water) in which to soak your clams. Ensure the bucket (or cooler) is void of residues from chemicals or cleaners. As long as the water stays cool they will last a few days like this and expel extra sand, etc. If you don't have seawater, they can be stored for several days in a bowl in the refrigerator with a damp towel over them. They should close up when tapped. If the shell remains open after squeezing them they likely have expired.
After shucking on the beach and leaving the shells (required by law) place in an airtight container on ice in a cooler. They should keep in the refrigerator for several days and can be frozen for a few months without noticeable compromise to quality.
Human Nature Steamed Manila or Native Littleneck Clams (in the Field)
1 - 2 limits (40-80 clams)
approx. 1/2 cup white wine (or water)
1/2 stick of butter (more or less to taste)
hearty sprinkling of dill
Cover and steam in a pot on high until it appears that most or all of the clams have popped wide open (usually within 5 min.) then continue steaming for an additional minute or two for good measure. Add a crusty bread for dipping into the clam nectar (juices in the pot).
Alternatively, there are countless recipes to try online.
Human Nature Pan-Fried Oysters (in the Field)
Cover in flour (wholewheat or white) by dredging or shaking in a bag
Fry in high-heat oil (grapeseed, ghee, refined coconut) AND BUTTER until browned and slightly crispy. Butter will help them brown.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Highly recommended to use a cast iron frying pan. Serve with lemon juice and tartar sauce for added flavors.