Allison Poklemba, Foraging for Sea Vegetables

If you are like me, you know just enough about foraging to be dangerous!…Yes, I’ve keyed out a mushroom in a mycology course…but did I feel confident?…not so much…

My first seaweed foraging expedition happened when Rhonda Wiedenbeck took me and Simona Carini out — and I found my new best friend…Kombu.  Why kombu?  Because it was easy to ID, and there are literally tons of it out in an area that I felt completely comfortable with.  Not being a swimmer I really wasn’t sure I would enjoy being in that great big ocean wading around — but as it turns out, you go on a really slack tide and you have a nice padding of gigantic rocks between you and the great blue ocean (ie., death by drowning).  Kombu Drying (2) Kombu Drying (8) Kombu Drying (14) Kombu Drying (17) Kombu Drying (19)

So I was very happy to hear that Allison teaches classes in foraging for Sea Veggies — which involves a little bit of time spent in a classroom, and an expedition on a super low slack tide to gather them.

To find out more about Allison’s next class — click here.

To hear part 1 of the two part interview

To hear part 2 of the two part interview


Jim Cotton, Food Growing and Foraging

One of my very first blog posts complete with photos showed “Jim and Kim’s garden” in Arcata — they have a small slice of heaven in the bottoms and the amount of produce they get out of it is astounding.

While I used to be the Garlic Queen among my friends, Kim usurped the throne many years ago, growing dozens of varieties of garlic.  Kim can hardly wait for the new garden supply catalogs to arrive and eagerly dives in to order varieties we’ve never heard of.  When my crop was completely wiped out by rust — she supplied me with seed garlic to start over — and vice-versa.  Since the early days of garlic rust, Kim has beat the rust by planting later (we used to plant on Indigenous People’s Day FKA Columbus Day) — but now we plant in late November or early December.  It works!

Both Kim and Jim are foragers too — gathering mushrooms, mussels, clams, crab, fishing for salmon — they both have a passion for locally produced food, and for knowing the land and what it has to offer.

Listen here for the interview with Jim Cotton

Christa Sinadinos, The Northwest School for Botanical Studies

Foraging is always an interesting phenomenon to me — I am learning new ways to do it, including my latest foray into seaweed collection.  Christa Sinadinos grew up foraging with her Greek-American grandparents, winding up as the director of The Northwest School for Botanical Studies. Listen to the interview, and check out her website.

Seaweed Foraging, Rhonda Wiedenbeck

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Rhonda Wiedenbeck is an avid forager and one of the things she likes to forage for is seaweed — I was lucky enough to be invited to a foray with Rhonda and our friend Simona Carini.  It was a typical summer morning…yep, overcast and chilly on the coast.  Our clothing was an array of mismatched but appropriate tidepool attire…if someone was photographing us for a fashion mag we would be the ones with the eyes blacked out to preserve our anonymity…  We happily came away with some fine bags of Kombu, Nori, and Rockweed (which I have to say…tastes like the ocean smells at low tide…I’ll skip that one next time…)  — but have used the other two in pots of soup and beans and find it tasty and not at all fishy tasting.
Click here to listen to the interview with Rhonda Wiedenbeck about foraging for seaweed.