Food Festival

The Purple Urchin Fest Will Debut on the Mendocino Coast

In an effort to aid kelp forests, and help the under-the-waves ecosystem, purple urchins will pop up on plates aplenty in November 2021.

Mendocino Urchin Festival

What to Know

  • Nov. 5-7, 2021
  • A number of foodie events are on the schedule, as well as educational happenings that put the focus on balance in the ocean's ecosystem
  • Van Damme State Beach and other locales around the Mendocino Coast will play a part

EATS, EDUCATION, AND MENDO MARVELS: Gatherings of gourmands? There isn't simply one version or type or way to do things on the foodie fest circuit. Sometimes tastings are in a festival's main spotlight, or cooking demos, or opportunities to dig into local food lore. But if there's a strong educational component, the sort of focus that helps attendees to understand not only what they're dining upon but its deeper story, you can count on departing the fest with a richer understanding of a particular foodstuff. And if you've been wanting to educate yourself on urchins, specifically the purple urchins that prodigiously pop up off the Mendocino Coast, take a moment and circle the first weekend in November on your cuisine calendar. For the...

PURPLE URCHIN FESTIVAL... will flower around Fort Bragg as fall unfolds, giving seafoodies a chance to not only snack upon this spike-tastic, under-the-water echinoderm but also understand how it impacts the larger ecosystem. Urchinomics, "... a company dedicated to restoring kelp forests by removing overgrazing barren sea urchins, feeding them on land, and selling them on to distributors and restaurants," will play a part in the event, as well as a number of local chefs. Both demonstrations and chances for urchin aficionados to try their hand at urchin prep are on the calendar, and there are a number of local stay-over specials at the charming inns in the area. Oh yes, and plenty of dishes, from house-made noodles to hearty scrambles, featuring the purple urchins in all sorts of ways.

THE TASTY TO-DO... is "the first-ever" urchin-themed festival in the United States, a notable billing given the fact that so many of our favorite foodstuffs boast multiple happenings in several locations around the nation. If you're eager to know more about sustainability, what it means to work in "restorative seafood," and everything to do with the purple urchin, consider making for the Mendocino Coast in early November.

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