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

Abalone Diving, Frank Onstine

IMG_1509 IMG_1510If you’ve lived in Humboldt for any length of time you have eventually been invited to an abalone feed of some sort — I’ve had various experiences with that, one involving bear meat and abalone…let’s just say the abalone was great.  The bear meat that had been pressure cooked for hours was still so tough I got my front teeth stuck in it and had to pry them out.

The abalone, in fact, has always been great — everyone has their favorite way of preparing it but generally it involved deep frying after some combination of wet, dry, wet or dry, wet, dry had been applied (like eggs being wet, flour being dry, milk being wet, panko being dry, etc etc etc).  I’m afraid you could deep fry a flip-flop and it would be good too — so I am a fan of well prepared fried food.

I am not, however, a fan of entering the ocean and gathering up these crazy beasts.  That’s what friends are for — and so Frank Onstine has become a friend to many by gathering up abalone from the Fort Bragg area for years.  To hear more about Frank and his pursuit of abalone, listen here!

Kevin Pinto, FV Jenna Lee

If you have lived in the Eureka area for any length of time you look forward to the sign that appears on 4th St.  Live Crab!  and the name of the FV (or Fishing Vessel) is the Jenna Lee.  Getting your own live crab off the docks puts you one step closer to hunting and gathering — closer to the person who risks their life going out there to get it for you — spend any time out at the Marina on Woodley Island you might have happened by the Fishermen Memorial…and close by that is a column listing the names of all those who have lost their lives at sea.

So one day I thought I’d pop on down to the Marina and give my new HD video camera a spin — and that’s when I met Carol Pinto aboard the Jenna Lee with their adorable sea-dog.  Carol kindly held up a wiggly crab for me to videotape — but let me know that Kevin was the person I needed to interview for the radio show.  I learned a lot of things about crab fishing that day — but perhaps the most important thing I know about cooking live crab is that you should use seawater…it makes for the tastiest meat!  If you are a bit squeamish about tossing a live animal into a pot of boiling water, you can always find your crab already cooked at many of our local markets — but when you are ready to give it a try I think you will find that it will be the best crab you have ever eaten.

Find out more about the Jenna Lee and Kevin Pinto, listen here.

FV Shenandoah, Carrie and Clay Collins

I first met Carrie at the Master Food Preserver Training, class of 2014.  When talking about pressure canning it was clear we had a pro in our midst — with a husband who was a fisherman, the average catch of albacore might involve hundreds of pints of the delicious and highly prized protein that is the most pressure canned item in Humboldt (no stats here…just anecdotal).  Carrie’s tuna was not only properly and safely canned, it actually looked pretty in a jar.  Ever see a jar of home canned albacore?  Good thing we know it’s good to eat because it normally isn’t such a lovely item on the shelf (sorry Charlie!)…

Check out the interview with Carrie and Clay and find out how some of the best food in the world gets to our table!  Or go check out the Shenandoah yourself.

Tony Sepulveda, Green Water Fishing Adventures

Have you ever thought about how your local dungeness crab is caught?  Ever want to do it yourself?  There are a couple of sports fishing opportunities in Humboldt County to catch your own crab and salmon and Green Water Fishing Adventures is one of them.  You can check out their website or listen to their interview!

Scott Bradshaw, Fish Brothers

I first met Scott when he volunteered to do a presentation for the Master Food Preserver Program about smoking and curing fish — loaded with great info after years of doing just that, Scott was relaxed, fun and funny — and I knew I’d have to interview him for Food for Thought.  Now I’ve tried to smoke fish — fish jerky is what I ended up with!  My husband has perfected lox which he cures with a combination of salt, citrus zest, vodka (yeahhhhhh….) and dill….but I swear I’ll give hot smoking salmon another try…and in the meantime I’ll just buy Fish Brothers — especially the Wild King Salmon — because it’s so good and much easier!

Check out Fish Brothers

Listen to the interview

Sports Fishing, Doug McCullough

Doug and Ninon McCullough are some of my closest friends…so as my dad used to say — What are friends for if you can’t use them?…without a bit of shame I invited myself and Jessica Eden on a salmon fishing trip.  I loaded up on Bonine to help with seasickness (I was very worried about this, tall tales of the high seas can send me retching)…and we searched the weather reports for a day that would be incredibly calm.  I also found out I could buy a one-day fishing permit just in case we were incredibly lucky and could get 2 more salmon…

well, as it turned out — I was in the way a lot of the time with camera gear — but we still came up with 2 salmon…and a lot of footage.

Part 1 interview

Part 2 interview

Seal on buoy...Doug doesn't like seals...

Seal on buoy…Doug doesn’t like seals…

Female salmon -- removing roe

Female salmon — removing roe

Doug gets his chance as videographer

Doug gets his chance as videographer

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Jess Eden walks the dock at first light toward the waiting boat at Trinidad harbor

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Pemberton Fishing – D. Ray Pemberton

D. Ray Pemberton is the guy you see down at the farmers market in Arcata on Saturday mornings with live crabs for sale.  While many people are intimidated by the idea of buying live crabs and taking them home to boil them up — others have found that the flavor of the meat is superb.  A friend of mine cooks her crabs up in seawater — and having tasted them I believe they are the sweetest crabs I’ve ever eaten.  If you would like to hook up with D.Ray to buy crabs for your favorite cioppino or crab boil, give him a call — (707) 499-7958 — you might even reach him while he is fishing on his boat — F.V. Shultzie Baby!

Listen here

Captain Zack’s Crab House, Susan Rotwein

Zack is the fisherman and he brings back some of his haul to Susan who runs Captain Zack’s Crab House.  Many people miss the restaurant that she used to run, but you can still buy fresh cooked crab straight from the docks to her pot.  Take a listen to our interview.

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.

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