For years – since I learned about it from friends who told magic tales of seaweed harvesting along the northern CA coast – I have wanted to participate in a seaweed harvest in Mendocino. So when I got the lucky opportunity to photograph the harvest in May for Bamboo Sushi, I was ecstatic. This is the kind of work that I live for.
I rolled into Mendocino Saturday evening. There was some kind of bike rally in town, with hundreds of loud dirt-bikes cruising the quiet streets, a funny combo of young, scruffy hipsters and older weekend warriors. Hopefully they had some epic dirt roads to explore over the weekend.
Sunday morning, I met Terry and her partner at 6:30 at a little park above the bluffs in Fort Bragg. They were rushing with the tide, working in the two hours that the tide was on its way out, and the two hours that it rolled in. It was cold, windy, damp with ocean fog: the kind of coastal California weather that screams home to me, and that I love and hate in equal measure.
I followed them down the slick hillside to a protected cove. Terry told me that there is an upwelling here, along the Mendocino coast, that makes these waters particularly nutrient-rich. It explains why it seems to be such a prolific cottage industry in this particular region.
If you’d like to try some of Terry’s amazing seaweed, you can order online from her here.