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The Food Lover's Guide: Word From the Wise: Fisherman John Wilson

You may have noticed a new face among the stalls at the Hollywood Farmers’ Market—in fact, many faces, shiny red ones with beady eyes attached to giant claws or flopping tails. They’re live rock crabs and spiny lobsters, caught in the waters off Santa Barbara and the Channel Islands by fisherman John Wilson. Aboard his 45-foot boat The Sea Fever—his golden retriever, Roxy, by his side—the San Fernando Valley native has been doing local sustainable fishing for nearly 30 years. “People just don’t know that this amazing stuff is right off the coast,” says Wilson. “Until recently, most of my crab has been going to Asian markets in the San Gabriel Valley.” He started selling at the Hollywood market in May and is its only live-crustacean vendor. “The exposure is huge,” he says. “William Shatner bought crabs from me.” His biggest challenge now? Getting squeamish Angelenos to stick those lively little suckers in the pot. “It’s intimidating for people who aren’t used to killing their food.” True, but one bite of that supersweet meat will toughen you up.