Edible SEAWEEDS & SHELLFISH of the Salish Sea

Workshop instructor Kim Chisholm ecstatic over a successful clam dig

WAIT LISTED for Saturday, May 18, 2019

Join us for a wonderful day during one the lowest daytime tide of the year on the shores of Whidbey Island 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? Join us for a great day of hands-on discovery.

Workshop Itinerary

10:30 Punctual Start:

If taking the ferry from Mukilteo, please arrive early for the 9:30 AM sailing. In fact, we recommend walking onto the ferry since we will be picking participants up at 9:55 AM in Clinton with our 15 passenger van. We’ll begin at 10:30 sharp 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 Carpool to Harvesting Site for harvesting 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. The walk out to the harvesting site is over a mile round-trip, so prepare for all weather with proper beach/wetlands footwear, rain and sun protection.

4:00 Preserving, Preparing & Cooking Wild Edibles

We’ll return to our picnic shelter surveying native shore plants, learning how to distinguish characteristics of edible trees, shrubs and herbs. We’ll hang our seaweeds to dry, then begin prepping clam chowder, nori rolls and other wild edible delicacies in preparation for dinner.

6:00 Clean Up & Departure

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

Dicot Shrubs:

• Blueberries & Huckleberry Species
• Roses
• Blackberry & Raspberry Species
• Hazelnut Filberts
• Currant & Gooseberry Species

Dicot Herbs:

• Aster Order & Sunflower Family
• Bedstraw & Cleavers
• Plantains
• Wild Mints
• Wild Carrot: Queen Anne’s Lace
• Stinging Nettles

Monocot Herbs:

• Cattails
• Eel Grass & Other Grasses
• Wild Onions
• Wild Grasses, Sedges & Rushes


$95 per person
$90 per additional friend/family member.

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/

Our weekend workshops are designed for adults, but youth are also welcome to registerwith 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. 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)

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.

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

• Please get the excellent A Field Guide to Seaweeds of the Pacific Northwest pamplet by Dr. Bridgette Clarkston or if you want the full book, then Pacific Seaweeds – A Guide to Common Seaweeds of the West Coast updated and expanded edition by Louis D. Druehl & Bridgette E. Clarkston. For shellfish, just get the Washington Sport Fishing Rules guide: click and download, then print the shellfish pages, or pick a free copy at any sporting goods store including Fred Meyer, etc. Finally, for the best identification to all the intertidal animals, order one of the precious remaining copies of the EZ Guide to Common Intertidal Invertebrates of the Salish Sea compiled by WSU Beach Watcher intertidal monitoring teams.

• 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.

• 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 Wild Chef Charlie Borrowman. 

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Contact us for carpooling information from Tacoma, Seattle, Everett, Mt. Vernon, Bellingham & Oak Harbor.