Sauteing freshly collected California Mussels (Mytilus californianus) with butter, scallions and garlic over a camp stove on the Oregon Coast. Be sure to avoid collecting mussels found on rocks near sandy beaches as wave action will ensure that your delicacy is diminished by gritty sand when served. To avoid grit, find mussels that live on rocks that drop into deep water, where sand stirred up by powerful waves can’t reach the mussel beds. As always keep one eye on the sea and work facing the ocean. Even on a perfectly calm day you can be surprised by wave which is far larger than you would expect … its happened to me! You’ll also need an Oregon recreational shellfish permit, and be respectful of limits, be careful to avoid marine reserves and tread lightly on the mussel beds so as not to unnecessarily damage or injure the diversity of intertidal creatures living there. Last but not least, before harvesting wild mussels be CERTAIN to check the ODFW hotline to ensure there isn’t a shellfish closure due to excessive levels of domoic acid, also popularly known as a ‘red tide’. Domoic acid can cause a severe condition known as Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning, which can result in severe injury or death within one hour of ingesting contaminated shellfish. Mussels are one of the great natural delicacies of our coast, and collecting and preparing them, reminds me of who I am, and grounds my connection to this beautiful place we call home. Along with the virtue of wild harvest comes responsibility and respect for these living resources, which can be diminished or lost in the blink of an eye. As they say, “Limit your kill, don’t kill your limit”.