“If you can’t win, eat,” say communities on the Mendocino coast.
The first sea urchin festival in the United States takes place from Friday, June 17, to Sunday, June 19, 2022, along the Mendocino coast of California.
Mendocino Urchin Fest for 3 days will focus on purple sea urchins (Strongylocentrotus purpuratus). An explosion in the thorny echinoderm population is destroying algae beds from Mexico to Canada, causing the coastal algae forest to become “barren arcs.” The loss of kelp means the loss of food and habitat for many marine creatures and organisms, including already threatened abalone.
The Mendocino coast has lost its delicate and productive algae beds. For the past 7 years, scientists, fishermen, divers and other specialists and citizens have been working to find solutions to restore the algae forest and marine inhabitants of the coastal ecosystem, while the population of sea urchins is declining.
Eating hedgehogs was a natural conclusion. After all, red and green hedgehogs are considered delicacies all over the world. Mendocino Urchin Fest will present to locals and visitors the joy of harvesting, cleaning and eating purple hedgehogs. Marine scientists, chefs, divers, restaurants, hotels and community members come together to share the delicious purple hedgehog and show and tell the complex and delicate ecological story of the coast.
Demonstrations, associations and tastings will take place throughout the weekend. All will present purple hedgehogs. For example, Friday’s opening is an outdoor demonstration with a five-course purple hedgehog tasting menu. Urchinomics and Chef Matthew Kammerer are hosting the Michelin-starred event in Elk, California, at the Harbor House Inn.
On Saturday, at Van Damme State Beach, festival participants can participate in a one-way demonstration and educational discussion. Learn how to harvest, open and clean hedgehogs. In addition, the impact of the purple hedgehog on local fishing will be presented.
The Noyo Center for Marine Science plays an important role in the daily hedgehog dilemma. They will work at the science center and off-site locations during the festival, showing the circle of life in our coastal waters between plants, animals and humans.
Restaurants up and down the coast will serve uni, the edible part of sea urchins, in one form or another. Hotels offer special festival packages that include things like 3 for 2 deals.
Mother Nature is always amazing in this amazing part of the Pacific Coast, guaranteeing more to do than to know a purple sea urchin. Hiking, kayaking, fishing, surfing and diving are the best on the Mendocino Coast.
The Mendocino Urchin Fest website has a complete list of educational programs, dining experiences and accommodation packages. View online ticket dates, times and information.
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