Welcome to the wild seaweed world from the coast of Mendocino County, Northern California!
All of our seaweeds are wildcrafted and hand-harvested by walking the slippery rocks of the intertidal zone during the spring and summer minus tides, and by kayaking out to their habitats on the wave-lashed rocks along the coast. We treat seaweed lovingly as a rare herb, carefully selecting the most perfect blades. We bring the harvest inland out of the fog into the hot sun, hand-spreading each blade on screens for rapid and complete sun drying , and when completely dry storing the seaweed in an airtight environment to preserve its high quality and freshness. Over our 38-year history , Mendocino Sea Vegetables have come to be recognized as best on the world market for appearance, nutrition and taste.
The Mendocino Coast is home to one of only four powerful ocean upwellings in the world, creating a rich and clean habitat for sea life, filled with powerful nutrients and micro-minerals to feed all life in the ocean.
It’s important for us to be able to share where, when and who harvests our seaweeds as we have a personal connection with the seaweed we send to you. Each has its own story.
The Sea Palm Fronds were trimmed from wave-lashed islands off Buckhorn Cove by Holly Sinclair, a professional wildcrafter who has grown up hauling her kayak in and out of these coastal waters.
Seaweeds have their territories, and if harvested harmoniously you will find them in the same place year after year. Our Mendocino Wakame and Mendocino Kombu bloom in the deep intertidal zone only in the summer. We direct harvesters wearing wet suits to trim the best blades, leaving each seaweed alive to grow and reproduce. By rapid and complete drying of carefully spread blades, we produce sweet, black seaweed valued by many of the world’s best restaurants.
John is in his mid-seventies and physically limited, but still can pluck carefully selected blades of Mendocino Nori from rocks high in the intertidal zone, passing them to Barbara for rinsing in tidepools using a net bag. Our sea-rinsed Mendocino Nori, a technique we learned from local tribes who revere this type of seaweed, is unique and in very limited supply. Often we have offered our first early summer nori harvest to tribal elders and during the summer to the tribal Big Time parties.
Barbara trims Sea Whip Fronds from her kayak in the bullwhip kelp forest which annually blooms in the offshore waters. In recent years this forest has been somewhat depleted by a huge growth of predatory purple urchins, while the other seaweeds continue prolific and healthy in cold, nutritious waters.
Our Green Goddess Sea Lettuce is rare and blooms when we have rains. Just like the Nori, Sea Lettuce likes brackish water. The delicate green blades are picked by hand and rinsed in the ocean where they are harvested to make sure it keeps it rich quality and is free of shells and sand. I call this delightful seaweed the “Arugula of the Sea.”
Enjoy your wild seaweed experience and know that you are getting the finest quality seaweed, conscientiously harvested, dried and stored with care, keeping the well-being of the ocean and our customers in mind! We feel our job is to bring healing food from the sea to the people, truly a labor of love.
If you are interested in recipes and information on harvesting please give us a call. We welcome our customers to attend our seminars and harvesting experience.
Barbara and John Stephens-Lewallen
Your wild ocean food providers 1-707-895-2996 facsimile 1-707-895-3270 text 1-707-684-0824