Despite an overcast sky and a chill in the air on Sunday, the East Hampton Town Trustees Largest Clam Contest drew a large crowd of hungry spectators to the Donald Lamb Building in Amagansett.
The iconic clam crown was greatly desired this year, so much so that some contestants went all the way—one clammer was disqualified because his or her clam was not alive, a requirement, and was “not in its natural state,” according to Trustee Stephanie Talmage. She said she couldn’t reveal how it had been “tampered with,” but, while it is not a written rule, it should be common sense that the clam should be alive and not, in any way, “enhanced.”
Otherwise, everyone feasted happily on clam chowder while Edward Hoff Jr. and his son, Edward Hoff III, age 10, were given first place for the largest clam overall in the adult and youth categories, respectively, out of 42 entries. Mr. Hoff took first place in 2011, and his son has won three times over the years. Mr. Hoff’s clam weighed in at 2.4 pounds, and his son’s at 2.3 pounds. Both were plucked from Napeague.
Urban Reininger claimed the largest clam from Three Mile Harbor at 1.91 pounds, and in the youth category, Ethan Stillwachs’s clam was the largest, weighing 1.84 pounds.
Out of Accabonac Harbor waters, winner Denis Curles pulled out a whopping 1.85-pound clam and Elizabeth Branche won in the youth category for her 1.23-pound clam.
The biggest clams from Montauk were the smallest overall—Ryan Persan pulled out a 0.62-pound clam and Laila Persan, winner in the youth category, dug up a 0.45-pound clam.
Husband and wife Bill and Robin Jahoda decided to battle one another with their respective clam chowder dishes this year—but neither won the contest.
“I put a piece of gefilte fish in hers to sabotage her entry,” Mr. Jahoda said, smiling as the taste-testers tried out his chowder. “I didn’t realize I’d be so emotionally invested.”
Ms. Jahoda laughed and said that her husband’s clam chowder didn’t fall into any category, but Mr. Jahoda rebutted. “It falls into the exceptional category,” he said.
Two years ago Mr. Jahoda won a 13-pound lobster for his chowder.
Last year’s Largest Clam Contest winner, Linda Calder, took home the best white clam chowder title, while Tina Shultz won the best overall for her red chowder.