Follow your gut, and who knows where you’ll end up. If you’re anything like Kirk Lombard, your happy place might be between the tides in an underwater raw bar of sorts—host to bounties of moon snails, mussels, monkeyface eels, and horse neck, jackknife, and piddock clams, all ripe for the plucking.
This past September, an Edible Selby video for T magazine’s blog and an eight-page spread in Selby’s book launched Lombard, an Inner Sunset resident, to hot fishmonger status, bringing to the spotlight a career choice that may well be the result of one childhood adventure. The self-proclaimed “intertidal harvester” fell in love with the ocean when his grandfather first took him fishing off the coast of Santa Cruz. He worked as a catch monitor for the California Department of Fish and Game for seven years, calling his post “a dream gig,” one that would prepare him for the ultimate endeavor.
Video courtesy of Todd Selby
Two years ago, the 46-year-old fish expert launched Sea Forager Tours. “I was surprised there was no one doing coastal foraging,” says Lombard, who shares his obsession with like-minded locals looking to learn about conservation and stewardship, plus tricks of his trade, during tours along our bay-front shorelines. Excursions this month focus on the herring or, as Lombard calls it, “the great, ugly, red-headed step child of the bay.” “[Herring is] a sizeable commercial fishery, with approximately 2,000 tons being shipped to Japan every year, but most non-fishing San Franciscans are unaware,” he says. For anyone looking for the story behind the fish, Lombard is the man to tell it. When he isn’t digging recreationally for littlenecks in Tomales Bay or fishing for lingcod in Half Moon Bay, the forager sells his catches to Two x Sea at Pier 45 and supplies seafood rarely found on menus to private restaurant events.
This article was published in 7x7's February issue. Click here to subscribe.