SANTA BARBARA COUNTY
Santa Barbara has the longest coast line of any county in Southern California, exceeding even San Diego in this respect. Its area is 1,450,000 acres, a large portion of which is composed of rugged mountains....The population of the county in 1890 was 15,754. The narrow strip along the south coast, sheltered from the north winds by the Santa Ynez Mountains, has a most delightful climate which attracts health- and home-seekers of wealth and culture from all parts of the world....
As an indication that Santa Barbara does not live on climate alone, the following statistics of shipments from the county in 1891, the latest complete returns obtainable are given: Beans, 6,744 tons; barley, 4,000; wheat, 2,975; butter, 505; walnuts, 260; dried fruit, 60; green fruit, 237; asphaltum, 1,000; tallow, 300; hides, 400; wool, 400; corn, 150; dried abalones, 30; abalone shells, 50; dried fish, 10; oranges, 6,000 boxes; lemons, 10,000 boxes; hogs, 9,500; beef cattle, 5,000; sheep, 20,000; lobsters 20,000 sacks....
~ Land of Sunshine: Southern California, 1893
Santa Barbara, always a veritable "Land of Sunshine", continues to offer the world some of the freshest, most beautiful provisions found anywhere - from land or sea.
Every Saturday morning throughout the year, local fishermen offer seafood so fresh, it is still slick with the cold Pacific water from which it was plucked - only hours before you arrive at the Santa Barbara Harbor.
The Santa Barbara Fishermen's Market takes place Saturday morning, from 7:30am - 11:30am. Here, on the docks of the harbor, you will have the opportunity to meet with some of the Commercial Fishermen of Santa Barbara, our local experts and adventurers who ply the waters of the Pacific Ocean, and bring to land an abundant harvest from Neptune's depths.
Last Saturday, I met the captain and crew of the local fishing vessel, Mysteri - Sam, Brian, and Sheri - who offered freshly-caught spiny lobster, sea whelks, and rock crab. The crew were generous in sharing information about how the crabs, lobster, and whelks live, where they are harvested, and how best to prepare them.
I learned that the crew cuts the claws from their crabs - with a quick, almost surgical snip - which does not harm the crab in any way. Rather than inflicting a mortal wound, they simply divest the crabs of their succulent appendages....and release the creatures back into the sea. These filter-feeders are dropped back into the briny depths after having spent only a couple of hours away from home.
Santa Barbara's commercial fishermen are passionate about maintaining sustainability - of ensuring the ocean's vitality and health, as well as the fishermen's way of life. The fishermen are not only our direct link to obtainin fresh seafood, they are experts who share information and insight about our local waters and the creatures who live upon, around, and within the blue Pacific.
You can meet the crew of the Mysteri at the Santa Barbara Fishermen's Market every Saturday. The crabs are available year-round, but the lobster are only in season through the middle of March. Depending on the season and the luck of the day, you will meet other fishermen who bring their catch to the docks.
Even if you can't make the early Saturday dock-side market, be sure to visit the Santa Barbara Fish Market , also located at the harbor.
The SBFM is the local direct outlet for Santa Barbara's commercial fishermen, and they, too, are happy to make recommendations, and offer recipes and ideas.
Santa Barbara's fishermen are local stewards of California's fishing heritage, they are partners in improving and maintaining the health of our ocean, they are a strong community in their own right, and a vitally important part of our community as a whole.
To learn more about the Santa Barbara Harbor and Waterfront, visit their website.
Visit the Commercial Fishermen of Santa Barbara website, to learn more about these oceanic ambassadors.
And - be sure to try the Commercial Fishermen's recipe for Lobster, Shrimp and Rock Crab Creole - before lobster season ends for another year....