Dangerous levels of paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) toxins have been detected in mussels from Sonoma County. The naturally occurring PSP toxins can cause illness or death in humans. Cooking does not destroy the toxin. The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is advising consumers not to eat sport-harvested mussels, clams, or whole scallops from Sonoma County This shellfish safety notification is in addition to the annual quarantine. It applies to all species of mussels harvested along the California coast, as well as all bays and estuaries and will continue through at least Oct. 31. This warning does not apply to commercially sold clams, mussels, scallops or oysters from approved sources. State law permits only state-certified commercial shellfish harvesters or dealers to sell these products. Shellfish sold by certified harvesters and dealers are subject to frequent mandatory testing to monitor for toxins.
Commercial salmon fishing boats are hooking their way out of the slump of recent weeks. Fish boated in the last week or so have been much bigger than the earlier harvests, typical of the salmon season. There are rumors of albacore tuna being caught off Humboldt, this may be the beginning of the tuna season. Fresh caught albacore is a delight to eat and excellent if you have a pressure canner and are up to date on canning technique. A tuna salad or tuna sandwich made of your own line caught fish can be a tasty option to the commercially canned fare.
A brief walk through the woods revealed little in the way of fungi, they are still sleeping. This is also one of the finest times to be out in the local forests. The late summer aromas of wild grasses, Pepperwood, Oak and Madrone blend with the fresh, earthy vapors of small, local creeks, together they are enough to transport you to...wait for it... the Wine Country!
This weekend is the third weekend of the four annual ‘steam-ups’ at the famous Sturgeon’s Mill living museum. The mill was featured in the August edition of the Sonoma Marin Farm News. Details of some of the family members and friends of the mill, old and new are explored. The steam up is free to all, parking is free, and the setting is wonderful. Old machinery, blacksmith demonstrations, dray horses are exhibited in action and the picnic area is set among the redwoods. Food is available to purchase or bring your own hamper. Families love the experience and return to visit often, “It’s like visiting a good friend, our kids love it.” said one mother. Steam up is at ten in the morning and ends at three in the afternoon both days. Some of the wood products the mill produces is available for purchase. Donations keep the mill running as a non-profit. Visit their web site: Google Sturgeon’s Mill for the link. Driving time from Rohnert Park is about thirty minutes.
Bill Hanson is a Sonoma County native and a lifelong sportsman. He is the former president of the Sonoma County Mycological Association. Look for his column in The Community Voice each week.