The Wednesday before Chinese New Year, Roger Lu, Director of Academic Affairs at a nearby Middle School where I volunteer, invited me to come watch the clam harvest on his farm about 20 minutes southwest of here on the coast.
After the clams are dregged up off the bottom of the ponds, the living clams are hand-separated from empty shells.
The living clams are hosed down and filtered through grates of various width in order to sort by size. Then, they're packed into bags and trucked off (Sadly, there's a lot more to this process than I can remember now having waited more than a week to write up this blog entry).
Roger hired locals to help bring in the harvest, selling his clams to a seafood wholesaler in Kaohsiung County.
He did not turn much of a profit his first 3 years of learning the trade. But the last 5 years or so he's done very well. This year, in fact, he brought in bigger and healthier clams than most other farmers.
In addition to clams, Roger raises shrimp and fish in his three ponds.
In addition to here in Western Yunlin County, clams are grown in salt water ponds along the coast in Tainan to the south and ChangHua to the north.
(All Pictures Courtesy of Lorne White)