Edible Monterey Bay

ON THE COAST: TIDAL TREASURES

Delicious, nutritious and sustainable,
seaweed is all around us

Story and Photos by John Cox

Ankle deep in an icy tide pool, I can’t help but feel like an awkward giant surrounded by an aquatic landscape straight from the pages of Dr. Seuss. The bay is a tranquil lake, and the glow of dawn cuts through the fog, making the blades of mazzaella dancing just below the ocean’s surface look like dark, flashing rainbows. The slippery rocks, normally submerged beneath the surf, are crusted with algae and sea life of every imaginable shape and color. Andrew Kim, my guide for the morning, holds up a leaf of purple Turkish towel seaweed on which another type of marine algae, a tiny pink tree-like plant, has hitched a ride. Next, he plucks … Read More

EDIBLE HISTORY: REMEMBERING SPAGHETTI HILL

How Sicilian fishermen made Monterey their home


A statue of Pietro Ferrante (above) at the foot of Fisherman’s Wharf in Monterey
honors the contributions he and his fellow Sicilian immigrants
made to the local sardine fishery. Historic photos courtesy of California
History Room Archives, Monterey Public Library.

Photography by John Cox

A group of animated Sicilian-American men sit around a long wooden table beneath a light fixture fabricated from old fish traps. Every morning, from eight until 10 or 11, they sit and talk, enjoying each other’s company.

Noticing the espresso-stained demitasse cups and remnants of morning pastries scattered across the table, I am struck by the irony of a culture that values hours of conversation over a beverage that barely lasts a minute. Not bothered by empty cups, the … Read More

In the Kitchen: Moon Jellyfish

How I became a medusivore


Crystal Wing holds a moon jellyfish in Sierra Mar’s kitchen. Photo: John Cox

Photography by John Cox and Rob Fisher

It was an epicurean pursuit worth dying for. Despite the threat of nearby California sea lions many times their size, a school of young ocean sunfish (Mola mola) had ventured close to the shore of Monterey Bay in pursuit of what, for them, is a delicacy. But the sea lions had pounced, and as I looked down from Cannery Row, they were tossing the sunfish’s dismembered corpses around, like dogs playing with Frisbees. An irresistible bloom of moon jellyfish had lured the sunfish into the bay, but the trip had ended in catastrophe, leaving dozens of sunfish lying lifeless in the shallow tidal pools.

Both … Read More

Foraging for Sea Salt

September 3, 2013 – Last week I was walking along a jagged stretch of coast south of Monterey when I spotted bright white patches on the rocks below. The ever-present wall of fog had been pushed almost out of sight by a warm breeze and the day was quickly becoming uncomfortably hot. Low tide was approaching and the ocean was docile, lapping at the shoreline with just enough fervor to sway the emerging sea palms. Always curious, I made my way down a cascade of sandstone to the rock shelf below. At this level I could see that the white patches were pools of evaporated ocean water, deposits of fine salt crystals caked against the porous stone. As I made my way further towards the ocean, the pools became deeper, … Read More

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