Tag Archives: foraging

Shellfish Harvesting: A morning at Dosewallips in photos

BRINNON — The Olympic Mountains and a bald eagle perched in a tall tree stood guard over a wide expanse of tideland near the estuary of the Dosewallips River.

“Welcome to my office,” said John Adams, Taylor Shellfish Farms’ Dosewallips manager.

He was talking to a group of a couple dozen people plucking oysters from the beach as part of an outdoor program on shellfish foraging with Bainbridge island Metro Parks and Recreation District and Langdon Cook, blogger and author of “Fat of the Land: Adventures of a 21st Century Forager.”

It was among a series of classes (I also went to one on nettle foraging) designed to get people outdoors and get people reconnected with the bounty around them.

We had started the day at Dosewallips State Park, going over what kind of clams we might find on the beach — butter, varnish/mahogany, manilla and native littlenecks.

“Digging for oysters and clams is super easy and cooking them is even easier,” Cook reassured everyone before we headed just north of the park to Taylor Shellfish property to forage.

Before you go:

To harvest clams and oysters on a public beach, you need a permit, which is sold online or at most sporting goods stores, Fred Meyer, Wal-Mart and Kingston and North Mason chamber of commerce offices. You must be 15 or older. Cost is $12 annually or cheaper for a one-day permit. How many shellfish you can harvest varies from beach to beach.

Clam Rules: Most species must be 1.5 inches wide. Fill in your hole when you’re done digging in it.

Oyster rules: Bring your shucking knife, because on public beaches, you’re required to leave the shells there (the backs of those shells are where new oysters will grow).Oysters must be 2.5 inches or larger.

Where to go: The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has lists of public beaches where you can harvest shellfish. You can search by county or click on the map, then click on a beach to see whether it’s open and to find links to the Health Department for any toxin concerns.

When to go: Low tide is the best time to find oysters. Consult your favorite tide chart or try this one, which has a clickable map with links to that area’s high and low tides by month and day.

Up Next on The Food Life: How to cook ’em

Bainbridge foraging class a reminder of ‘bounty of the land’

On a recent sunny weekday afternoon, noted Northwest forager and “Fat of the Land” author (and blogger) Langdon Cook stood in a clearing in the Gazzam Lake preserve shaking a clipping from a stinging nettle.

“I remember the first time I got stung by nettles as a kid .. and then years later I have a distinct and fresh memory of eating them, having my revenge,” he said.

And with that, he and 16 people from Bainbridge Island, Seattle, Tacoma and trekked through the woodlands, snipping at a seemingly endless supply of the weed. They filled baskets and paper sacks and in a Strawberry Hill Park kitchen, sauteed onions, potatoes, garlic, added stock and whirled in freshly washed (using tongs) nettles into a a nettle soup.

From the taste, this revenge was a dish best served … with a scrape of nutmeg. The nettles added a bright note to the soup, which was akin to a potato leek style. No blistered tongues were found (boiling or drying destroys many of the stinging compounds in the nettle hairs), though I did feel a slight and very likely psychosomatic tingle on my tongue.

In the search for new tastes and exotic foods, it can be easy to forget that a walk through the woods can offer an edible bounty. It’s a lesson I’ve often forgotten, and one I was gratefully reminded of this week as I shot video for Tristan Baurick’s story on nettles.

As a kid, my grandma used to come home from a friend’s Hood Canal beachfront house with strands of seaweed, occasional bunches of horsetail shoots or bags of woodsy mushrooms. Or she’d put a garden shovel in my hand and tell me to dig fast for those butter clams.

A renewed appreciation for the food around us — and a way to entice foodies outdoors — is one Bainbridge Metro Park and Recreation District’s Jeff Ozimek hopes to spark with a series of spring and summer classes called “Bounty of the Land.”

“One of my biggest passions is going to hike in the woods and being able to figure out what to eat,” he said.

The classes, which opened for registration this week, will be led by Cook and others and range from digging and cooking shellfish on the beach to picking berries for pies. Classes cost $30 to $75 for island residents, though for $5 extra, non-residents can take them too. They encourage you to sign up early; some classes fill fast while others may be cancelled if there aren’t enough people who sign up.

Here are a few of the classes coming up. Download the “Bounty of the Land pdf” to see them all and register at biparks.org.

Oyster gardening, April 11: Take a tour of the Taylor Shellfish Hatchery, learn aout the gear you need, when to harvest and sample a variety of oysters on the half shell. Cost: $29.

Shellfish Foraging and Cooking, May 1 (repeated May 18): Visit Taylor Shellfish Farms with Langdon Cook to learn about several species of Puget Sound shellfish, learn how to shcuk them and cook a batch with a champagne vinegar and white wine sauce. Cost: $49.

Geoduck Dig, June 15: Hunt for the difficult-to-get geoduck with Langdon Cook and learn how to cook the briny delicacy. Cost: $75.

I hope to take a couple more of BI Parks’ classes this year, and would love to hear from any of you who do the same.

Class Teaches How to Forage for Stinging Nettles on Bainbridge Island

In some circles, it’s considered a painful annoyance when hiking in shorts. In others, stinging nettles are a superfood.

For the latter group, Bainbridge Parks and Recreation will offer a class on how to forage for nettles in local parks as well as how not to get stung and how to cook it with food foraging blogger and author Langdon Cook. Participants will leave both with knowledge and some stinging nettle soup.

The class comes during peak nettle-foraging season, early spring, when the plants are tender. The class runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 23 (unfortunately for the working class, that’s on a Wednesday). Cost is $35.

Foragers: Langdon Cook on Bainbridge Island Sunday

Those of you who delight in the hunt for chanterelles, picking wild huckleberries or really anyone who find wild things on their dinner plates might want to clear your Sunday schedule.

Seattle forager, blogger and author of Fat of the Land: Adventures of a 21st Century Forager
Langdon Cook will be on Bainbridge Island this weekend. If you want to know more about him, Seattle Times had a review of Langdon’s book as well as a recipe for chanterelle pasta (which I just might try tonight thanks to some generous mushroom-sharing co-workers).

Langdon will talk about his book and his adventures finding food in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest, starting at 4:30 p.m. at Bloedell Reserve. Tickets are $35 to $40 and available at Brown Paper Tickets.