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Aug 25, 2009 01:05 PM

Gooseneck barnacles? (SEA)

Anyone know where these can be found? I have read of the specimens from Galicia sold in the tin, , but the current price at the online retailer mentioned is absolutely absurd: $80 per tin.

Google led me to an article in the NY Times from '87 which mentioned a Spanish chef from a now defunct Seattle restaurant who said they could be found in the Pacific Northwest. Are the local ones sold? Can they be freely harvested somewhere?


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  1. I don't think that gooseneck barnacles can ever be "freely" harvested as they usually inhabit treacherous, wave beaten, rocky outcroppings. Hence the exhorbitant price. You'd need a sturdy boat and nerves of steel to avoid being bashed to death on the rocks.

    1. hmmm, way back in the 90's there used to be a mussels farmer in Santa Barbara CA who sold goose neck barnacles at the Hollywood Farmers market. They were growing along with his mussels. But they were so peculiar looking that only terrribly excited Spanish people would buy them and there just weren't enough of those so they stopped bringing them to market. I seem to recall them telling me they were keeping them at home and eatting them.

      Which is a long way of saying that you can probably take a kayak and gather your own from someplace [I believe they ARE listed on the Washington state shellfish license page] or you might try checking with various shellfish farmers who might be able to provide you with them or who might be willing to let you gather them yourselves....maybe that guy at the U-district market on Saturdays?

      Also have you tried asking at Spanish Table if they know of a source?

      good luck. when you find them, be sure to email us all about dinner at your place so we can try them too!

      1. The original comment has been removed
        1. hi my name is coby and my girls name is hallie, we have been living in lincoln city oregon for about 4 months and go to the beach often and we were tide pooling when i saw a mussel with arms so we took it home and found out later on that it was in fact percebs aka,gooseneck barnacles so we have been doing research and found out that these are a delecacy as im sure u already know and we were thinkin about harvesting the delicable things and we are trying to find buyers if you are interested in this buissnes oppertunity or know of a direction to push us your help would be greatly appreciated thank you very much for your time,,,,

          great thanks coby and hallie

          4 Replies
          1. re: cobygeddes

            hi this is coby and hallie again we went out and got pictures just to make sure there were no mistakes here it is....

            thank you for your time

            1. re: cobygeddes

              I’m a frequent visitor to Barcelona, where I got totally addicted to percebes. Although they are available in Spain, they are very expensive because of the difficulty of harvesting them. Here’s an excerpt from an article in the Sunday (London) Times:

              “The English name [goose barnacle] comes from the long, webbed foot with which it clings to cliffs, and which is also the secret of its foodie appeal. As the weather deteriorates and the waves strengthen, this foot gets progressively thicker and juicier. By Christmas, it can be 5cm long and up to 1cm wide; this is the peak time for harvesting. It is also the time when the cliffs and rocks are at their most inaccessible, lashed by Atlantic gales and freezing six-metre waves. The barnacle fishermen, known locally as percebeiros, work in teams of two, one holding a line and manning the boat, the other clambering onto the rocks, cutting a couple of handfuls of the molluscs with a special tool and stuffing them into a net bag tied around his waist before swimming back through the pounding surf to his boat. The whole operation has to be timed to the rhythm of the swells to avoid the men being picked up and slammed back against the sharp edges of the very crop they are attempting to harvest. It’s dangerous work, and every year there are a few casualties - often overenthusiastic amateurs rather than professionals. The latter are allowed to harvest no more than six kilos a day - far more, it is said, than can actually be achieved. Small wonder, then, that percebes cost about £100 per kilo at market.

              Like all true delicacies, they are best cooked simply - by steaming or boiling in seawater to which a few bay leaves have been added. It’s vital that they still have a little bit of rock attached to the foot, to prevent the briny juices from escaping. Traditionally, they stay in the pot no longer than it takes the chef to say the Lord’s Prayer. Eating a bowl of goose barnacles is a job that requires at least two napkins, one of which is fastened around your neck. You grasp the stem and twist sharply, revealing an inner tube that can then be sucked out. If the mollusc is really fresh, it will squirt juice in both directions as you pierce it, requiring the deployment of the second napkin as you dab at your dining companion’s clothing.”

              Needless to say, I’m very excited about your discovery. I’ll think about the commercial opportunity. One potential hurdle would be the fact that, unlike Spaniards, Americans aren’t used to eating percebes, as suggested by Jenn in her post about the mussel farmer from Santa Barbara, California who stopped bringing them to a farmers’ market because of the lack of interest. But maybe there are enough adventurous eaters to provide a limited market. In any event, the next time I’m in your area, I’ll look you up. I, at least, would be more than excited to buy some percebes from you. How would I get in touch with you? One final question: Were there lots of them in the tide pools, or just a few?

            2. re: cobygeddes

              Do you still have them where you are? I would love some. I am driving by OR next week. KwanS

              1. re: KwanS

                If anyone in the US in interested in Gooseneck Barnacles, I collect and sell them already.

            3. I know this is an old, but it seems to have been active recently, so I thought I'd reply here, both as a reply to the original (in case you're still looking after 2 years...) and to the most recent poster who offered to supply the goosenecks.

              You might try checking with Coastal Rovers (, a group of foragers, marine geeks and foodies. I know they are on Twitter, too. They might be able to hook up those looking for goosenecks (like the original poster) and those who can find them (like the latest poster).

              1 Reply
              1. re: paselkin

                Thanks for reviving this thread. I hope that coby finds a avenue for the commercial distribution of his finds so that I might someday taste them.