Based in Port Norris, N.J., Surfside Foods specializes in Ocean Quahog (Arctica islandica) and Atlantic Surf (Spisula solida) clams and clam juice. The company’s roots go back to the family fish market, which specialized in scungili, a marine mollusk also known as conch, that members of the LaMonica family started in Brooklyn in the 1930s.
As the scungili business flourished, the family moved from Brooklyn, N.Y., to Cape May, N.J., to be closer to the supply of scuingili, which was being caught off the island of Cape May. As time went on, it became apparent to the LaMonica family that hand shucking the locally sourced surf clams was the next step to further their business.
Cape May Canners was formed, and the company, which would later change its name to LaMonica Fine Foods, prospered. In 1976, the government implemented a restriction on the harvesting of surf clams, which in turn drastically reduced the supply of surf meat to the market place.
As an alternative to the surf clams, Ocean Quahogs began to fill the gap to meet the rising demand of clam meat. With the quahog being a smaller clam that could not be hand-shucked, it became necessary for a mechanized shucking plant to be implemented to complement the hand-shucking line. Thus, Surfside Foods was born.