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Oct 18, 2008 10:23 AM

Where to buy fresh Abolone?

Dear foodies, I want to splurge and purchase fresh abolone for my dear old dad that adores this shellfish. Any suggestions where to buy?? I live in the North Bay...Santa Rosa. Thanks for your help.

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  1. From a recent Slow Food Nation blog posting:

    "For a taste of abalone, contact these three local farms: California Abalone Co. in Half Moon Bay, (510) 226-9212; Monterey Abalone Co. in Monterey Bay, (831) 646-0350; American Abalone in Davenport, (831) 457-2700."

    If you want WILD abalone, you'll need a dry suit and gear, a license and a strong knowledge of DFG regulations off Sonoma coast. They're damn serious about poaching and enforcing sport regs. And that's good.

    Sushi Monster

    5 Replies
    1. re: Sushi Monster

      Here is just a sample of the regulations.
      (e) Special Gear Provisions: The use of SCUBA gear or surface supplied air to take abalone is prohibited. Abalone may not be taken or possessed aboard any boat, vessel, or floating device in the water containing SCUBA or surface supplied air. Abalone may be taken only by hand or by devices commonly known as abalone irons. Abalone irons must be less than 36 inches long, straight or with a curve having a radius of not less than 18 inches, and must not be less than 3/4 inch wide nor less than 1/16 inch thick. All edges must be rounded and free of sharp edges. Knives, screwdrivers and sharp instruments are prohibited.

      1. re: Sushi Monster

        The fines for poaching or non-compliance can be huge. Like $5k for individuals and much, much more for restaurants -- in the mid-5 figures.

        1. re: Sushi Monster

          your reply is basically correct; however, to nit pick, sort of, most ab divers prefer a wet suit to a dry suit for ab diving. Some divers believe that free diving in a dry suit is difficult and potentially dangerous: since it doesn't compress it typically has more drag and takes more weight to get down with than a wet suit (and most free divers aren't down long enough that the extra thermal protection of a drysuit really makes that much difference). For someone thinking of taking up ab diving who is not also interested in scuba, the major difference IMO is that a wet suit will cost a third of what one would pay for a dry suit.

          I believe that some Asian markets sometimes have fresh abalone in their tanks; for the OP: you might try Ranch 99 if there is one near you.

          1. re: susancinsf

            and here is a fairly recent thread with some hints on places to get it in restaurants, which might also be a good way to go (abalone isn't the easiest dish in the world to prepare well).


            1. re: susancinsf

              I saw fresh abalone at Ranch 99 (Foster City) yesterday - don't know if you have those near you.

              I also have purchased live abalone (farmed) in Monterey and it was a chore to prepare;)

        2. Closer to Santa Rosa, you may want to give Osprey Seafood in Napa a call. They're one of the major seafood purveyors in the Bay Area and happen to have a retail store in Napa. They have it at times, and if they don't, they can get almost anything with a few days notice.

          1. I bought red abalonee from an abalone farming operation; can't remember which one. The abalone I had 30 years ago I remember vividly. The farmed stuff was a huge disappointment. I'd rather have chicken.

            1. One more thing: Were you looking for preparation options or were you already hipped to what you were going to do once you got the abalone?

              The reason I ask: WAAAAAY back in the day when I worked on the line at a "continental" (ahem!) restaurant on the Peninsula, we had abalone fillets 8 inches across that we pounded out to 12 inches, split in half, and then ... eggwash, flour, eggwash, breadcrumb, ... and in the sun for a flash and out ... bam. Thin, fast, perfect.

              Be aware the farmed buggers are not going to be of this dimension. Depending on how you get them, you're going to have to find some way to either cut or pound or (a combination of both) for the saute pan.


              1 Reply
              1. re: Sushi Monster

                Sushi Monster...yep, your method is exactly how my familily prepares's the best and only way. Thank you for help!

                I am quite sure this is where my brother has purchased abalone for special occassions the past two years. In his younger days he would dive for "ab's" up the coast between Jenner and Mendocino. I thought the abalone he cooked for us from this mail order abalone farm was just as good - maybe that had a lot to do with the cook.