Food and wellness trends for 2016: “Seaweed is the new kale”

It’s the time and season when we look back at the year (almost) behind us, and look forward to the year ahead. It’s also a popular time to make predictions for the coming year–here are a couple that have popped up about food and wellness trends, featuring seaweed.

From CNBC, coming in at #1:  Seaweed Is the New Kale.

Health and wellness website well + Good also predicts that seaweed will take over kale’s spot, at #3. But look also at #5–“Minerals Get the Rockstar Treatment (and Magnesium is the Darling).”

Seaweeds are one of the richest food sources of minerals, and provide a wide range of both macrominerals (that we need in relatively large amounts, such as calcium and magnesium) and trace elements (that we need in small amounts, such as boron and chromium).

Alaria drying.MCSV

The golden deliciousness of Alaria (Alaria esculenta)

Check out the magnesium content in some of the seaweeds we offer, from our nutritional charts. (Keep in mind that the amounts listed in the charts are snapshots, not a guaranteed amount per serving).

The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of magnesium for adults in the U.S. is 400 mg per day. Two types of kelp that we sell, for example, provide somewhere in the neighborhood of 60 mg in a 7-gram serving, or 15% of the RDA. That’s pretty good!

One of those kelps, Alaria (we also call it Wild Atlantic Wakame because it’s similar to Japanese wakame) is wonderful in miso or other soups, seaweed salads, and roasted into salty, crunchy chips.

Despite all of this “news” about seaweeds, they have been providing minerals, along with fiber, vitamins, and unique compounds that aren’t found in any other foods–such as complex sugars like fucoidan–for a very long time. Whether you like to set the trend or ride the wave, see what seaweed is all about!

~~~Eat some seaweed!~~~


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Time to celebrate–potato latkes with Dulse!

Fresh DulseIt’s that time of year, filled with celebrations and special meals, gatherings of friends and family. We are now in the middle of Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, and one of the special dishes associated with Hanukkah is Latkes, a “pancake” made with shredded potatoes and fried till golden and crispy.

In past years we’ve shared with you a recipe for latkes with Dulse that’s vegan and gluten free, or can be made the more traditional way with egg as a binder. Dulse and potatoes work well together, with Dulse lending a salty, rich flavor to potato’s creamy and earthy taste and texture.

This year we’ll add a new twist:  other root veggies and winter squash can be combined with potato to add beautiful color and nutrition to the traditional latke. You can also use red or purple potatoes in the mix. With added Dulse (flakes, granules, or whole leaf chopped into small pieces), of course! Or if you want to add a hint of smoke, try some Applewood-Smoked Dulse, chopped in small pieces.

From all of us at Maine Coast Sea Vegetables, may this season bring you nourishment, joy, rest, and love.

~~Eat some seaweed!~~

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We are thankful for…

…green seaweeds, brown seaweeds, red seaweeds, all seaweeds

our customers, and all we learn from them

our colleagues and teachers

our families and friends

chocolate :>


resilience and flexibility

sunshine and photosynthesis

the phenomenal ocean that’s so abundant with life

to be able to live and work in a beautiful place, connecting people with seaweed

to work with people we love!

What are you thankful for?

May you find rest, good company, and nourishment in the holiday, from all of us at Maine Coast Sea Vegetables.

~~~Eat some seaweed!~~~

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We’ll be at the Maine Harvest Festival this weekend!

The Maine Harvest Festival celebrates its fifth year this weekend, with more than 150 farmers, fishers, harvesters, fiber artisans, chefs, bakers, vintners, food producers, cheese makers, and brewers bringing their wares and expertise to the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor for two days of demos, sampling, sales, learning, and live music–and of course, pie-judging!

We participated as a vendor in 2012, and we’re excited to go back this year. We’ll have a range of products for sale, and several yummy samples to try, from roasted Laver to Ginger Kelp Krunch ice cream by our friends at Morton’s Moo!

On Sunday at 1:30 p.m., we’ll also be part of a sea veggie cooking demo, “Eat your (sea) vegetables,” which is a collaborative effort with VitaminSea seaweed in southern Maine and chef and seaweed entrepreneur and educator Tollef Olson.

The Festival will be Saturday and Sunday, November 14 and 15, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. Come by and see us!

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Organic certification at the Sorrento farm

Notes from the Field by Shep Erhart, MCSV founder and president

Sarah Redmond and Mary, our MOFGA certification inspector, checking out tiny seaweed "plants" in the nursery. Photo: Shep Erhart

Sarah Redmond and Mary, our MOFGA certification inspector, checking out tiny seaweed “plants” in the nursery.
Photo: Shep Erhart

Last week I was part of another sea change for Maine Coast Sea Vegetables: our first organic certification inspection for the Sorrento sea farm, and the first organic certification of aquacultured seaweed in the United States, to my knowledge. We are fortunate that MOFGA (the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association) pioneered standards for certifying farmed Maine macroalgae, with the blessing of the USDA’s National Organic Program. Organic (land) farmers need their organic seaweed for healthy plants and animals, and so do we want the same for you! But why should you care if your kelp is certified organic?

Tiny kelps growing on twine-wrapped rope at the start of the 2015-2016 farm season… Photo: Sarah Redmond

First, with certified organic seaweed aquaculture, no artificial fertilizer is used at any growth stage. From the nursery–as the spores differentiate into male and female, germinate, and form the minuscule plants (called gametophytes at this stage) that you see in the photo on the right–to the open water.

Sarah Redmond, in charge of the seaweed nursery at the nearby Center for Cooperative Aquaculture Research in Franklin, admits that the tiny kelp gametophytes take longer to mature on the twine, but once they are out on the farm, their holdfasts will grab onto the green rope she is holding in the photo below and grow like gangbusters this winter.

The twine embedded with tiny seaweeds will be attached to the green rope Sarah is holding, for grow-out at the farm. Photo: Shep Erhart

Secondly, you probably didn’t know that in conventional seaweed farming, artificial fertilizers are often used not only in the nursery but also in grow-out areas. They tie little mesh bags of fertilizer pellets to the lines or nets to enrich the water around the plants. Great for growing plants big and fast, but not so great for the delicate seawater balance that affects all other marine life forms. In China I have seen entire bay systems covered with nori nets. Impressive, but how is this monoculture with chemical inputs affecting everything else in that bay?

Although we have a thirty-five-acre site in Sorrento, it’s a very small part of Frenchman Bay, and we share it with a local fisherman who plans to grow mussels alongside our seaweed someday. The two species have complementary nutrient needs and should thrive together. In fact, Mainers and others are already farming a variety of species together, including seaweeds, shellfish, and sometimes finfish, in systems that produce more food, and less waste. This type of growing is also called Integrated Multi-trophic Aquaculture.

Hopefully the new kelp babies will grow up to look this in late winter 2016!

Lastly, we are taking this step of organic certification (as we have for all of our other, wild-harvested products) because it keeps us on our toes, and makes everyone more aware of the consequences of everything we put into the environment and into the food stream. When we harvest, we’ll make sure the containers used to collect and transport the seaweed are clean, using ecologically sound methods (not with Mr. Clean!), the fuel running the outboard motor in the harvesting boats is isolated, the drying system on land is non-polluting and the final packaging is food grade. All the details that add up to making a difference, we trust. Let’s hope those baby plants grow up knowing they are loved!


Editor’s note: MCSV has been working for several years on integrating farmed seaweed with the wild-harvested plants that we continue to treasure and rely on. For more on our seaweed aquaculture efforts, see these previous posts:

Planting Seeds for our Future

Exploring Seaweed Aquaculture

With a little kelp from our friends

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Sea Veggies and the MDI Marathon

Today and tomorrow, Maine Coast Sea Vegetables is taking part in the Pre-Race Health and Fitness Expo leading up to the MDI Marathon races this Sunday, October 18, on nearby Mount Desert Island.

According to the race’s organizers, this year’s event has drawn competitors from forty-seven states, six Canadian provinces, and seven countries, with the 10,000th finisher expected.

The event is not only a chance to run in an exceptionally beautiful place, but also to give back to the local community. The marathon’s Beyond the Finish Line campaign has raised more than $148,000 in support of dozens of local charitable organizations, and the race also funds annual scholarships at MDI High School.

“What’s the connection with sea vegetables?” you might ask. Sea veggies, with their abundance of macro and trace minerals, are an excellent choice for replenishing the electrolytes lost as athletes run, bike, hike, swim, etc. For many years, Maine Coast Sea Vegetables has supplied Dulse to a nurse who leads the medical team for a marathon in Ontario, Canada, and this is how we first learned of this additional benefit of eating sea veggies.

Our customer hands out small amounts of dried Dulse leaves, which are lightweight and can be eaten a little at at time over the course of a race. In her words, “We’ve been experimenting with salt replacement for years. We tried salt and salt tablets, and many runners would just vomit them up. We’ve ended up with dulse as absolutely the best salt replacement.”

We are delighted to take part in this event for the first time this year, and look forward to connecting athletes with sea veggies to help them stay hydrated and be at their best! Many thanks to the race’s organizers for putting on such a fine event, with so much given back to our local communities.

MDI Marathon - MCSV

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Maine Seaweed makes the society pages!

The second annual Maine Seaweed Festival on Saturday August 29th was a resounding success, with lots of families, smiles, sunshine, curiosity, and of course seaweed-eating! More on the Fest soon–we were there along with many other Maine seaweed businesses, sampling and selling products, eating seaweed ice cream, talking with lots of people, and generally having a good time.

Illustration imageTo cap off the Fest, a Full Moon Fishery Feast dinner was served amid glowing candles and twinkling lights, and the round, round moon. This dinner even made the Society pages of the Portland Press Herald! Further proof that seaweed is where it’s at.

~~Eat your sea vegetables!~~


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Ginger Kelp Krunch ice cream returns!

IMG_0108Our friends (and now, neighbors!) at Morton’s Moo have done it again–crafted a magically delicious treat with our Ginger Kelp Krunch.

Made with Sugar Kelp (Saccharina latissima) harvested here in Downeast Maine, plus sesame seeds, Maine maple syrup and brown rice syrup, ginger and a touch of cayenne, Ginger Kelp Krunch is salty, sweet, crunchy, and a little spicy.

Morton’s Moo blends it with their ginger ice cream, and the result is pretty darn good. See for yourself in downtown Ellsworth!

Kelp Krunch Bars


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End of an era, and new beginnings

Say goodbye...

Say goodbye…

Hard to believe, but we’ve come to our last day in the location we’ve been in since 1993. After several years of designing, planning, and building (not to mention many years of dreaming and envisioning), Maine Coast Sea Vegetables will soon be in its new home, a brand new building in nearby Hancock.

It’s hard to say goodbye to Franklin, and especially to Taunton Bay, where in many ways MCSV was born over forty years ago. But we have long outgrown this space, and we aren’t going far from the shore. And it’s also incredibly exciting to spread our wings into a new space, designed just for us!


…and say Hello!

Check out our Facebook page for more photos (this is just one angle–there are lots of views, inside and out, on FB!) and to see some of the progression of the new building as it’s gone up in the past year. More stories about our new home to come…

We are now closed for the month of August, and will re-open on Tuesday September 1st. You can still visit for information, but no orders will be taken until we come back.

In the meantime, if you’re in Maine or New England or want to visit, come see us, sample products, eat some seaweed ice cream, learn and play at the second Maine Seaweed Festival on Saturday August 29th!!! At Southern Maine Community College in South Portland.

We thank all of our customers, friends, colleagues, and fellow seaweed lovers for your support and good energy this past year, and every year!! Here’s to many more years in seaweed in our new home.

~~The MCSV team~~

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Seaweed art for Seaweed Fest!

This made our week last Friday–seaweed enthusiast and scientist Dr. Nicole Kirchhoff has created gorgeous seaweed postcards featuring her detailed illustrations (check out her other work here).

The postcards are available at the new gallery, KoT contemporary functional art in the Maine Grind building in Ellsworth. And Maine Coast Sea Vegetables will also have some for sale at the Maine Seaweed Festival on Saturday August 29 at Southern Maine Community College in South Portland!

Come see us at Seaweed Fest!!

IMG_0069 IMG_0068IMG_0070 IMG_0071

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