This past year was so full, we couldn’t fit it all in one post! And so, more Maine (and beyond) seaweed stories from 2014…
Seaweed in food and drink–recipes, cookbooks, stories…just a sampling
Food & Wine featured a cocktail mix with rosemary and Dulse, or Dilisk as it’s called in Ireland.
From our friends at Atlantic Kitchen in the UK, a recipe for roasted pumpkin coconut soup with Dulse. YUM! They’ve got lots more delicious recipes on their site, too.
Marshall Wharf Brewing Company in Belfast, Maine, crafted Sea Belt, a MacFindlay Scotch Ale brewed with Maine Sugar Kelp grown by Maine Fresh Sea Farms. Sarah Redmond and Hillary Krapf helped facilitate. This story got a lot of press–from NPR to Maine Public Broadcasting Network, to Modern Farmer and the Huffington Post, to the Bangor Daily News and Beer This Week.
In November, Food and Wine featured “5 ways to cook with seaweed” on their blog.
Across the pond, in May The Telegraph advocated for including sea veggies in our embrace of wild foods, with sea veggie recipes, such as potato salad with sea lettuce butter.
Bon Appetit began the year with a mini seaweed primer on how to source and cook with sea veggies, and links to recipes including a yummy pickled veggie dish with nori vinaigrette, from Portland’s Eventide Oyster Co.
And the Huffington Post offered up info on a mix of sea veggies from nori to kombu to dulse, plus recipes (though they mistakenly note that dulse is “also called sea lettuce flakes.” Ahem, not true! Sea lettuce is an entirely different sea veggie).
Cookbooks are one of our favorite things. Ones featuring or including seaweed popped up throughout the year, including Vegan Holiday Cooking from Candle Cafe, and Seaweed Soul: Recipes for a nourishing life with stories, gorgeous photos and more from our neighbor Larch Hanson at Maine Seaweed Company. From down under came Coastal Chef: The Culinary Art of Seaweed and Algae in the 21st Century, inspired in part through the work, vision, and energy of Australia’s Dr. Pia Winberg, a scientist and passionate seaweed advocate.
Maine Coast Sea Vegetables News!
Shep Erhart in a recent article on MCSV’s planned move and expansion
Some of this year’s news and events happened very close to home–within and beyond the walls here at MCSV. The biggest news, of course, is that after more than forty years in the small town of Franklin, and nearly twenty in our current facility, we are moving to a new home in nearby Hancock (a slightly larger small town), outside of Ellsworth. This represents a sea change for MCSV, of course. The new, purpose-built building, will provide much needed space (we’ve been in pretty cramped quarters for years), with test kitchens for classes and new product development, and more public access for education and sales than we’ve ever had. The excitement about our new home is high, and it’s also bittersweet–we’ll be moving from near the shores of Taunton Bay, and the place where the business was born, and grew slowly but steadily. This move hopefully represents a new phase of life, in the view of MCSV founder and president Shep Erhart.
This past year we said a sad goodbye to one of our favorite products, Sea Chips. On the other hand, we were able to bring back the deliciousness of Smoked Dulse, our dulse cold-smoked on apple and other woods at nearby Sullivan Harbor Farms.
In Part One we looked at seaweed aquaculture projects we’ve been involved with, including the fledgling Sorrento sea farm, collaborative ventures with the nearby Center for Cooperative Aquaculture Research and longtime seaweed friend Dr. Susan Brawley, and Maine Sea Grant and Cooperative Extension marine extension agent Sarah Redmond.
Seaweed stories and inspiration
Dr. Kathleen Drew-Baker
Seaweed nourishes us in many ways, including with inspiration and story. In December, across the transom came a wonderful story and podcast at gastropod.com, featuring kelp as the new “Kale of the sea,” how seaweed contributed to the peopling of the Americas, and Maine’s own Tollef Olson of Ocean Approved. Mother Jones featured another version of this on their blog, highlighting the story of Dr. Kathleen Drew-Baker, a female British scientist whose discovery basically saved Japan’s seaweed industry in the 1940’s.
From Scientific American’s Food Matters blog, another take on kelp as a “new” superfood from the sea, also featuring Bren Smith and Thimble Island Oyster Company, and the work of Dr. Charles Yarish, marine biologist, author, and seaweed farming pioneer at the University of Connecticut. Also including a very cool video about kelp and Smith’s vision and work.
Jumping back across the pond, the BBC Radio aired a feature on Farming Today including seaweed farming and Scottish seaweed company Mara (lots of wonderful recipes on their site, by the way. And we like their tag line, “Ancient food for modern cooks.”).
Speaking of inspiration, artist Josie Iselin released a new book this year called An Ocean Garden: the secret life of seaweed, and it is full of beauty in words and images. (We LOVE this book!) Josie was also a participant in the Maine Seaweed Festival in August! And we learned of the Beneath the Waves film festival, with this year’s festival featuring a film called Kelp Forests of the North East Atlantic.
VisitMaine.com posted a nice piece on the “sea to table” movement, including seaweed.
Portland-based Ocean Approved, home to the first kelp farm in the US, rode the news waves frequently this year. Maine magazine featured a great story about Ocean Approved’s charismatic Tollef Olson, kelp farming pioneer and creative chef, where he “explains his mission to bring ‘the healthiest vegetable you can eat’ to tables and palates around America.”
Seaweed made an appearance in an article on National Geographic.com, How to Farm a Better Fish, including some wise words from Paul Dobbins, the other main force behind Ocean Approved.
And OA was featured in an article in the Portland Press Herald in May, “In Maine, kelp is on the way from Ocean Approved.”
Seaweed frontiers and innovations
The Farm to School movement in the US has steadily gained ground in the past decade or two, and there’s a lot of activity in Maine focused on connecting schools and kids with local, nutritious foods. Only recently has seaweed come on the radar in the world of Farm to School, as another local, healthy, and tasty food that can become part of school food offerings. This fall several MCSV staff members attended a local Farm to School conference, and were impressed and inspired by what they learned and connections made. More to come on this front, we hope!
Seaweed is being explored for use in a wide range of products these days, from biofuels to snack foods to cosmetics. Seaweed can be nourishing to the skin in many ways, and seaweed body care products are on the rise. Boston magazine featured a story on their blog about a Maine dermatologist crafting a skin care line with the healing and protective properties of seaweed, called Ocean Elements.
Hot sauce is an ever-present condiment in our kitchen. Turns out that Captain Mowatt’s in Portland uses seaweed in some of their sauces.
This technically came on the scene before 2014, but was news to us this year. Although it created some controversy, seaweed as part of the fiber in textiles is certainly intriguing.
Further afield, Aqua Dulce farm in Austin, Texas, is growing seaweed on land, using aquaponics.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!
~~~Eat some seaweed!~~~