Such great people at American Mussel Harvesters, who are knowledgeable about all of the products."
Periwinkles (Littorina littorea) ~ sporadically available from Maine
These brown to black spiral shaped common periwinkles are mainly found off of the rocky coasts or sandy shores of the Atlantic Ocean. These small snail-like mollusks are harvested in three different grades according to size; nickel, dime, and quarter. Presently our watermen are harvesting nickel size periwinkles off the rocks around the Addison, Maine area. These are approximately 80-100 pieces per pound. Similar in relation to the land snail, they move on a fleshy foot and have a similar texture. Periwinkles are vegetarian by nature feeding on the thin film of diatoms and other algae covering the rocks they attach themselves to. Their shells are conical spirals with natural tidal whorls, often marked with beautiful colors. Roasted in the shell, winkles were once hawked on the streets of London. It is high in protein and low in fat content with 15% protein, 2% fat, and about 80% water. Cooking methods vary but a common one is to simply sauté in butter, garlic, fresh herbs and wine and then remove from the shell with a toothpick.
Conch (Busycon spp) ~ supply is very limited and sporadic
This species is endemic to the eastern coast of the United States, from Cape Cod, Massachusetts to northern Florida. It has also been introduced into San Francisco Bay. Shells of the channeled whelk typically reach 5 to 8 inches in length. The shell is smooth and generally pear-shaped, with a large body whorl and a straight siphonal canal. Between the whorls there is a wide, deep channel at the suture, and there are often weak knobs at the shoulders of the whorls. Finely sculpted lines begin at the siphonal canal and revolve around the shell surface. The color of the shell is typically a buff gray to light tan. The shell aperture is located on the right side, i.e. the shell of this species is almost always dextral in coiling. Left-handed or sinistral specimens occur rarely. Channeled whelks prefer sandy, shallow, intertidal or sub tidal areas, and can be common in these habitats. They tend to be nocturnal and are known to eat clams.
Rockweed (Ascophyllum nodosum)
Ascophyllum nodosum has long fronds with large egg-shaped air bladders set in series at regular intervals in the fronds and not stalked. The fronds can reach 2m in length and are attached by a holdfast to rocks and boulders. The fronds are olive-brown in color and somewhat compressed but without a mid-rib. Ascophyllum nodosum is harvested for use in alginates, fertilizers and for the manufacture of seaweed meal for animal and human consumption. In the food industry, this weed is now commonly being used as a garnish, decoration or for a traditional New England Clam Bake.