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FEATURE ARTICLE - FROM FIELDS, FOREST AND SPARKLING SEAS

From Fields, Forests and Sparkling Seas

Artisanal Food Producers and
Fruits of Their Labor

SEAFOOD — Deep Waters

By Marty Olmstead

Some of the best sea urchins in the world thrive in the ocean off the southern California coast, especially around Catalina Island. To harvest these spiny creatures, divers descend about 50 feet to pry them off the rocks. Urchin roe, known as uni, is highly sought after by top sushi chefs.
Thirty years ago, David Rubie was an ambitious diver with a commercial license to harvest sea urchins, which he sold live to a processing company. It didn’t take him long to realize that the only way to turn a profit was to cut out the middleman. In 1977, he founded Catalina Offshore Products and later bought his own processing plant.

Over the years, Rubie moved his company to San Diego and now offers a full line of sushi products. What makes his seafood special, he says, is its freshness. Divers deliver their catch to the dock for speedy delivery to the processing plant, where employees crack the urchins in half, spoon out the uni, soak it, dry it on paper towels and neatly pack it into wooden trays.
Rubie is too busy running the company with his wife to do much diving himself these days, but he still relishes what he does. His uni, he says, “tastes like a combination between no-salt caviar and fresh cream, with the smell of the ocean.”

Catalina Offshore
5202 Lovelock Street
San Diego, CA 92110
(619) 297.9797

OTHER RECOMMENDATIONS:
Taylor Shellfish Farms

The Taylor family has been farming oysters in Washington for more than a century and also sell mussels, clams and geoducks.

2182 Chuckanut Drive
Bow, WA 98232
(360) 766.6002

Read more:

 


MAR/APR 2005
TABLE OF CONTENTS

FEATURE ARTICLES
Artisanal Food Producers
  • MEAT- Prized Poultry
  • CHEESE - A Cultured Affair
  • PRODUCE - Northern Delights
  • SEAFOOD - Deep Waters
  • SPICES - Exotic Spices
Stellar Sips - American Wine Bars
  • Wine Storage
  • Tips - Home Wine Bar
FOOD & WINE
ON THE RADAR
SOCIAL TOAST
BITS & BITES


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