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Course Catalog

Edible SEAWEEDS & SHELLFISH of the Salish Sea (Skipping 2016 Sorry!)

Workshop instructor Kim Chisholm ecstatic over a successful clam dig

Saturday, May 27, 2017 from 10:00-6:00 at Deception Pass with special guest Wild Chef Charlie Borrowman during super low -3′ tide! NOTE: Charlie is studying the beaches of SE Asia in Spring 2016 so no workshop until 2017. It’ll be worth the wait, or join us and him for the same curriculum during our summer Wild Cooking, Ethnobotany & Herbal Expedition

Join us for a wonderful day during one of the lowest tides of late spring 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 general.
$90 if you attended one of our introductory plant classes or our plant workshop.
$85 for a second friend/family member.
$80 for a third friend/family member.
$75 for a fourth friend/family member.
$70 per additional friend/family member.
$65 if you attended this workshop with us in the past, or covered this material in one of our ethnobotany camps or expeditions.

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

Extra Cost: Also, a parking pass is required at all state parks. Cost is $35 for an annual pass available at Fred Meyer or or $10 for one day if you show up without an annual pass!

Registration Opens May 4th – Email us to be put on our first-come, first-served wait list

Our seaweeds-shellfish expert and Wild Chef Charlie Borrowman is traveling through SE Asia this winter-spring with as-yet undefined plans to return home in mid May. Those plans won’t be confirmed until May 1st so we can’t open registration until he books his flight back, hopefully prior to this workshop! Again, email us right away to be put on the wait-list because this workshop historically books fast. We will contact everyone to book registrations in order of when we received emails.

Check/Mail Registration Option: Check with us on May 4th to see if space remains available after wait-list is processed.

Credit/Debit Card Registration Option: Check with us on May 4th to see if space remains available after wait-list is processed.

Or Use PayPal after May 4th to see if space remains available after wait-list is processed.

Our weekend workshops are designed for adults, but youth are also welcome to register with an enrolled parent or guardian.

Our refund policy is that deposits are not refundable unless your registration is not accepted. If you cancel after making additional payment, you may receive a credit for a future program, minus a 25% administration fee of total payments made, in case of emergency. You will receive a full refund if your program is canceled and not rescheduled at a time that you can attend. No refund (and not necessarily any credit) is given if a participant is inappropriate at the program and asked to leave.

Preparatory Information

• Before the workshop, check out our blog article on harvesting seaweed and shellfish and please read 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.

• 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


Contact us for carpooling information from Tacoma, Seattle, Poulsbo, Port Townsend, Everett, Bellingham & Burlington. Otherwise, please meet at the S12-Cornet Bay Day Use Shelter near the end of Cornet Bay Road.

View Larger Map

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 left onto Cornet Bay Rd. and follow it until you come to the Shelter (near the end).