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Turning the Tide on Overpopulated Urchins: Unleash Your Inner Forager with UrchinFest!

Updated: Nov 7, 2023

two purple sea urchan ready to be eaten
purple sea urchan

Hello Foragers!

We are thrilled to announce a unique culinary/foraging experience in collaboration with Mendocino's Little River Inn. If you're ready for an adventure like no other, mark your calendars for mid-June and read on for the exciting details!

UrchinFest: A Celebration of the Tasty and Fascinating Purple Sea Urchin

Are you curious about the sea urchin overpopulation problem and its impact on the kelp forests along the Sonoma, Mendocino, and Humboldt Coasts? Join us in tackling this issue while indulging in a delectable solution - harvesting and eating these delicious creatures!

The second annual UrchinFest is set to take place from June 16th to 18th on the stunning Mendocino Coast. This unique oceanic event brings together two iconic lodging properties - Little River Inn and MacCallum House - to offer all-inclusive guest packages designed for adventurous epicureans seeking maximum enjoyment.

a purple sea urchan around others
purple sea urchan

Tide Pooling Package: Dive into the Wonders of the Ocean

On Friday, June 16th, kick off the weekend with a welcome campfire at Van Damme Beach. Dr. Kevin Smith of Catch and Cook CA will share captivating insights into how indigenous people populated California by following the kelp trail along the Pacific Rim, all while enjoying delicious S'mores.

As the sun rises on Saturday, June 17th, venture to Van Damme Beach for an unforgettable tide-pooling excursion. Led by Kevin himself, you'll have the opportunity to harvest seaweed, urchin, turban snails, and more. This hands-on activity will introduce you to the fascinating world of tide pooling from 5:30 AM to 8:30 AM.

At 1 PM, immerse yourself in an educational demonstration where you'll discover the secrets beneath the waves, learn about the purple urchin's dominance, and master the art of cracking open these spiny creatures. The program will feature presentations by Esme Placencia and Tristin McHugh from the Nature Conservancy.

As the day winds down, all participants will gather in the Abalone Room at Little River Inn. Get ready for a culinary extravaganza with cooking demonstrations, appetizers straight from the sea, and a sensational five-course uni-centric dinner paired with sake. Executive Chef Marc Dym and Master Sushi Chef Frank Takao will showcase their expertise, while Greg Fonts provides the finest seafood from the depths. Each course will be thoughtfully paired with sake by Professional Sake Educator Kerry Tamura of World Sake.

The Tide Pooling package, priced at $2,500, A little too pricy for your taste? thats okay kevin also guides tide pool foray's on this site, check it out. includes all the activities mentioned above, as well as two nights of lodging and breakfast for two people. Book your tide-pooling experience using the code "Urchin23" at or

Urchin Diving Package: Plunge into an Underwater Adventure

Similar to the Tide Pooling Package, the Urchin Diving Package promises a thrilling experience tailored for underwater enthusiasts. Begin the weekend on Friday, June 16th, with a captivating campfire session at Van Damme Beach, where Dr. Kevin Smith will enlighten you about indigenous people's navigation along the Pacific Rim using the kelp trail.

On Saturday, June 17th, Greg Fonts, a professional free dive competitor and owner of The Freedive Shop, will introduce you to the mesmerizing underwater wonders of the Mendocino Coast. You'll have the opportunity to collect your limit of urchin and possibly discover some surprises in the protected waters of Van Damme Cove. All necessary equipment will be provided.

Following the diving adventure, join the educational demonstration at 1 PM, where you'll gain insights into the purple urchin's domination and learn the art of opening these spiny creatures. Esme Placencia and Tristin McHugh from the Nature Conservancy will share their knowledge and expertise.

As evening descends, the Abalone Room at Little River Inn will transform into a culinary haven. Indulge in cooking demonstrations, appetizers fresh from the sea, and a remarkable five-course uni-centric dinner paired with sake. Executive Chef Marc Dym and Master Sushi Chef Frank Takao will demonstrate the preparation and cooking techniques, while Greg Fonts supplies the seafood. Savor each bite as Professional Sake Educator Kerry Tamura of World Sake guides you through the sake pairing journey.

The Urchin Diving package, priced at $3,200, includes all the activities mentioned above, as well as two nights of lodging and breakfast for two people. Book your diving experience using the code "UrchinDive" at or

a historic old house in fort bragg california
Old house

Where to Stay: Little River Inn & MacCallum House

Little River Inn, located on the atmospheric Mendocino Coast, offers a family-owned historic resort experience. With its chef-driven restaurant, Audubon-certified golf course, and exceptional service, it provides the perfect base for your adventure. The Inn offers a range of guest rooms, from economical to luxurious, and features a restaurant helmed by Executive Chef Marc Dym and Chef de Cuisine Jason Azevedo. Wake up to breakfast in your room or enjoy it on your private deck or in the charming outdoor garden area. Little River Inn also offers massage services and welcomes pets. To book your stay, visit

MacCallum House, a historic landmark nestled in Mendocino Village, is a boutique inn known for its remarkable restaurant. Surrounded by lush gardens, it offers nineteen beautiful and unique rooms, along with farm-to-table dining experiences featuring local, seasonal, and fresh ingredients. All stays include a gourmet breakfast. Choose from luxurious accommodations, including suites, cottages, and barn rooms, some with fireplaces, hot tubs, saunas, and ocean views. For an unforgettable stay, visit

a group of purple sea urchan

Don't Miss Out: Book Your Adventure Today!

If you're seeking a unique Father's Day gift or an extraordinary experience, these packages are the perfect choice. However, please note that space is extremely limited, so we encourage you to secure your spot promptly.

If the June 16th-18th dates don't work for you, don't worry! Contact us to plan sea urchin-specific foraging or diving trips to Mendocino during the summer. We are more than happy to guide you through exquisite foraging opportunities.

For any questions or further details, please reach out to Heather Noll from Chalkboard Communications at 415.290.2891.

Don't miss this incredible opportunity to unleash your inner forager and embark on an adventure that will satisfy your palate and ignite your sense of discovery. Join us for an unforgettable experience that celebrates the wonders of the ocean and the bounty it provides. Book your trip today and get ready to immerse yourself in the thrilling world of culinary/foraging exploration!

We look forward to seeing you soon!

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