Edible SEAWEEDS & SHELLFISH of the Salish Sea

Workshop instructor Kim Chisholm ecstatic over a successful clam dig

Saturday, June 16, 2018 from 10:30-5:30 at Deception Pass during low -3′ tide

Join us for a wonderful day during one the lowest daytime tide of the year on the shores of Deception Pass where geography, fauna and flora meet in dramatic form, providing a wild edible smorgasbord for the ages. Did you know that all seaweeds are edible in our region, but that certain ones are better and more nutritious than others? Did you know that each species of clam and shellfish leave distinct markers in the sand and gravel so that you can know what you’ll find before you dig them up? And did you know that the shores of Deception Pass provide what is perhaps the most diverse set of wild edible and medicinal plants in northwest? Join us for a great day of hands-on discovery at Deception Pass State Park.

Workshop Itinerary

10:00 Start:

Please arrive early for a super punctual start, as we’ll have much to do today! We’ll begin with an intensive overview of the seaweeds, shellfish and shore plants we’ll be experiencing today that will be designed to make learning easy and understandable.

Workshop instructor Chris Chisholm gathering Bull Whip Kelp from the shore immediately after a storm.

12:00 Seaweeds & Shellfish at Super Low Tide

Pack and eat a quick lunch, because now will be the best time to walk onto the beach and dig shellfish! The tide will be starting to go out fast at this time, so we’ll also collect seaweeds which present themselves, and depending on weather, we will try to dry them for later use.

2:00 Preserving & Preparing Wild Edibles

We’ll hang them to dry, then begin prepping clam chowder, nori rolls and other wild edible delicacies in preparation for our dinner. We’ll also return to our picnic shelter along one of the best trails for native plants that we have ever seen, learning how to distinguish characteristics of edible trees, shrubs and plants.

4:00 Wild Edible Cooking & Feast

Wild Chef Charlie Borrowman will share his seashore cooking secrets with you as we revel in a wild edible dinner prepared we prepare together with him.

6:00 Clean Up

Species We May Encounter:


Brown Algea:

• Bullwhip Kelp
• Kombu Sugar Wrack
• Wakame & Ribbon Kelp
• Arame Forked Kelp
• Hijiki Sargassum
• Bladderwrack Rockweed


Red Algea:

• Dulse Palmaria
• Nori
• Turkish Towel

Green Algea:

• Ulva Sea Lettuce



Bivalve Class

• Geoducks & Soft-Shell Clams; Hardshell Clams (Basket, Zebra & Kelly, Razor)
• Oysters & Scallops; Mussels

Cephalopod (squids, octopus), Snail & Chiton Classes


• Shrimp
• Crabs
• Barnacles


Dicot Trees:

• Pine Family (pine, firs, spruce)
• Oregon Garry White Oak
• Other Medicinal Trees

Dicot Shrubs:

• Blueberries & Huckleberry Species
• Cranberries
• Roses
• Blackberry & Raspberry Species
• Hazelnut Filberts
• Currant & Gooseberry Species
• Other Medicinal Shrubs

Dicot Herbs:

• Aster Order & Sunflower Family
• Bedstraw & Cleavers
• Medicinal Figwort Order
• Plantains
• Mints
• Medicinal Carrot & Ginseng Families of the Parsley Order
• Stinging Nettles
• Medicinal Plants of the Pea Family, Willow Order & More

Monocot Herbs:

• Cattails
• Eel Grass & Other Grasses
• Wild Onions
• Blue Camus
• Rice Root & Chocolate Lilies
• Wapato
• Medicinal Orchids, Sedges & Rushes

Ferns, Horsetails, Mosses & Lichen:

• Medicinal Lore


$95 per person

Extra Cost: Please note that if you would like to gather seaweeds and shellfish today, you will need a Washington State Shellfish & Seaweeds License. Cost is $14.30 (or $8.30 youth 15 and under) for an annual resident license, or $18.15 ($9.30 youth) for a one-day non-resident combo license. Be sure to purchase in advance at Fred Meyer or https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov/

Extra Cost: Also, a parking pass is required at all state parks. Cost is $35 for an annual Discover Pass available at Sports Stores, Fred Meyer or https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov/wa/license/select or pay $10 for one day if you show up without the annual pass.

Registration Options:

Our weekend workshops are designed for adults, but youth are also welcome to register with an enrolled parent or guardian. Directions to meeting location and carpooling information will be provided upon registration.

Credit/Debit Card Registration Option: Just call us at 425-248-0253 and we will take your registration securely over the phone.

Check/Mail Registration Option: Send with a check donation payable to the Wolf College, 1026 14th St. SW, Puyallup WA 98371 with participant name(s), phone number, email address, age of any minors, and any allergies or health restrictions we should know about.

Or Use PayPal to register via secure online donation with a credit/debit card or via direct withdrawal from your bank account. Use the link below (might not be visible if you are using “reader view” on your phone or other device) or sign into paypal.com and “send money” to our email address: (we’ll get back to you with any additional information we may need)

PayPal Registration: (account is not necessary using debit/credit card)
Participant Name & Age Range:
Cell Phone Number:

Or email us to be put on our our list for this program in the future. We always keep your information absolutely private, and will never share it. You can also like our facebook page to keep in better touch, and once you’ve attended a program, please review us on our Better Business BureauYelpGoogle pages.

Refund Policy: Standard deposits ($100 for day programs, $200 for overnight programs) are not refundable unless we don’t accept your application. If you cancel in advance of the program start time for any reason, you may receive a full credit good through the following calendar year on appropriate and available programs listed on our schedule, although an additional deposit may be required to secure your spot in the future program. If a program you sign up for is canceled and not rescheduled at a time you can attend, you may receive a full refund except in case of natural (weather, geologic, etc) disasters, government shutdowns, conflicts or curfews, or other unforeseen emergencies making it impossible for staff and/or attendees to reach or use program locations, in which case all payments made will be held by us without expiration date for your future use in appropriate/available programs of your choice. No refund, nor credit, is given if a participant is asked to leave a program for inappropriateness as determined by our kids, youth and adult agreements for participation.

Preparatory Information

• Before the workshop, check out our blog article on harvesting seaweed and shellfish and please read wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/shellfish_seaweed_rules.html and get a license(and parking pass) as described above if you plan to gather shellfish and seaweeds. If you do, also bring a bucket and shovel, or better yet, a 4 prong “cultivator” rake. Also, some of the best online information about seaweeds is posted by Ryan Drum, Ph.D. who lives right here in the San Juan Islands so be sure to check out his articles. 2/15/17 Update: Ryan will join us for the 2017 workshop so we are adding an extra 8 spots from our wait list!

• Prepare to be outside in all weather, and bring rubber boots, lunch, water, plus a camp stove and cooking gear if possible, and the rest of your 10 Essentials.

• Finally, please note that this is just a one day workshop, so if you would like to learn to a more advanced level and have time to really practice your skills, please enroll in our 5 Day Summer Course: Wild Ethnobotany & Herbalism Training with our Wild Chef Charlie Borrowman.


Contact us for carpooling information from Tacoma, Seattle, Poulsbo, Port Townsend, Everett, Bellingham & Burlington. Otherwise, please meet at the West Beach Parking Lot – North Side and we’ll to to the Amphitheater when everyone gets there, or if it’s raining. We will move to a different location after lunch for shellfish harvesting and dinner.

1. Take exit 230 off Interstate 5 (sign reads “Route 20, Burlington, Anacortes”).
2. Go west (left) on Highway 20 (toward Whidbey Island and Anacortes).
3. About twelve miles from the interstate exit (after passing an oil refinery on your right, and just after passing a golf course on your left) turn left at the stoplight (sign says “Oak Harbor, Port Townsend Ferry”) to stay on Hwy 20 W. If you go straight on Hwy 20 Spur W instead of turning you will end up in Anacortes.
4. Continue for about 7 miles (you’ll have crossed the Deception Pass Bridge), then turn right opposite Cornet Bay Road, into the Deception Pass Campground area (skip the check-in station if  you have a Discover Pass) and following signs to West Beach – Cranberry Lake Swim Area but when you get out to the water, park at the north end of the lot and join us at the Amphitheater.