Local Schools Celebrate Maine Harvest Month

Local Schools Celebrate Maine Harvest Month

It’s Fall in Maine and that means that the root vegetables are being unearthed and the ground is being put to rest in preparation for the cold months ahead. Schools in the towns surrounding Maine Coast Sea Vegetables are adding a new harvest item to their menus this year. Accompanying the requisite potatoes and colorful rainbow carrots you’ll find our delicious Dulse with Garlic Sea Seasoning®, as well as Alaria powder, Kelp Blend, and Dulse Flakes.

Roasted Rainbow Carrots seasoned with Dulse with Garlic Sea Seasoning.

At their recent Harvest Meal Lunch, Ellsworth Elementary-Middle School students were treated to fluffy Maine blueberry pancakes, locally raised pork sausage, and roasted root vegetables with Dulse/Garlic. Staff and children alike delighted in the flavor combinations and praised the meal.

Enjoying the Harvest Meal at Ellsworth Elementary-Middle School.

Dulse Corn Chowder and Dulse Macaroni and Cheese are next on the docket for another local school. Finally, as the crowning achievement for getting sea vegetables to our local students, the University of Maine has been featuring a Manhattan Sea Vegetable Chowder (see recipe below) in their soup rotation all Fall. Our Kelp Krunch™ Seaweed Energy Bars can also be found at the lunch counters and general stores on the University campus. We are so pleased here at Maine Coast Sea Vegetables to be fueling the bodies and minds of our local youth. Here’s to all the adventurous palates and curious learners out there…you keep up the studies and we’ll keep up the sustainable harvest of these magnificent, nutrient-filled sea veggies!

Manhattan Sea Vegetable Chowder

Ginger Kelp Krunch ready for sampling by UMaine students

  • 2 cups carrots, diced
  • 2 cups celery, diced
  • 2 cups green pepper, diced
  • 2 cups onion, diced
  • 4 tsp garlic, chopped fresh
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1/8 cup Alaria powder
  • 1/8 cup Kelp Blend
  • 1/3 cup Dulse Flakes
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp ground fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp ground rosemary
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 T parsley, chopped fresh
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 4 2/3 cups crushed, no-salt-added tomatoes, including juice
  • 3 quarts vegetable stock
  • 3 1/3 cups potatoes, diced and covered with water

Method

  1. Sauté garlic, onions, green peppers, celery, carrots, and the dry herbs in olive oil until starting to turn tender and brown
  2. Add all remaining ingredients except potatoes in water
  3. Bring soup to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes
  4. In a separate pot, bring potatoes to a boil and cook 15 minutes. Allow soup to continue to simmer while potatoes cook
  5. Add potatoes and their cooking water to the soup and simmer for 15 minutes
  6. Season with salt and pepper to taste
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Sea Vegetables cooking classes coming in October

Fresh DulseOur educator and Kelp Krunch baker Kara Ibarguen will teach two sea veggie cooking classes coming up in October, in our new R&D kitchen!
 
On October 4th, make delicious stir-fries with Dulse, Laver, Alaria, and Kelp.
 
Just in time for cooler weather, the October 11th class will focus on making soups and broth with sea vegetables, including split pea soup with Alaria, and Dulse corn chowder.

Kara is a talented cook and teacher, and a lot of fun to boot! Come and learn how to incorporate sea veggies into dishes you already love.

The classes will be 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. in our new building in Hancock. Registration for each class is $35. To learn more and sign up, visit rsu24.maineadulted.org or call (207) 422-4794. Or contact us at info@seaveg.com, or (207) 412-0094.

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Cup of Sea

We had a nice visit today from Josh Rogers, founder of Cup of Sea~Maine Seaweed Teas, one of Maine’s newest seaweed-related food and drink ventures.

Sea Smoke (lapsang souchong tea & smoked dulse)Cup of Sea makes a range of delicious teas–green, herbal, and black–blended with seaweeds. Take, for instance, “Sea Smoke,” a blend of lapsang souchong and smoked Dulse. For my first foray I tried “Sailor’s Cure-All,” with ginger, turmeric, and bladderwrack, plus a touch of honey. Warm, spicy, and a hint of ocean–delicious!

The Portland Press Herald ran a story on Cup of Sea this past weekend: Drinking seaweed is not weird anymore.”

And at the end of March, the Portland Phoenix covered Cup of Sea a bit more in-depth.

Find the teas at several locations around Portland, and at Lois’ Natural Marketplace in Scarborough. One of our new favorite things! It’s wonderful to see Maine seaweed making its way into people’s cups in such a creative and delicious form. Thanks Josh!

 

 

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Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Programs

Who will represent the next generation of the Ocean’s caretakers?

The Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Program has awarded more than $100,000 in scholarships to talented students since it began five years ago. The 2017 Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Contest offers  young artists a world stage to share their work.

Do you know of a young person in middle school or high school with a love for the Sea? Let them know, NOW is the time to submit their ART, POETRY, PROSE and FILM to make a change. This year’s theme is Ocean Pollution: Challenges & Solutions.

In 2011, founder Linda Cabot and her daughters embarked on a journey in Maine to film a documentaryFrom The Bow Seat—about environmental issues impacting the Gulf of Maine. The act of making a film and creating artwork made Linda and her daughters feel engaged and empowered in a way that went above and beyond reading about these issues in a book or hearing about them in a lecture.

Realizing the power of artwork and media to educate, inspire, and activate younger generations, Linda Cabot, founder, began to shape Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Programs into the organization it is today.”

Pass this on to young people and let them know that they, the ocean caretakers of the future, will be heard! Contest deadline is June 19, 2017.

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The Rockweed Rodeo

Tidal Falls Plays Host to the First-Ever “Rockweed Rodeo”

COA students admiring a smooth periwinkle egg cluster up close.

Tidal Falls, Hancock, Maine, May 6, 2017: Despite the drizzly, sometimes pouring, rain, more than twenty-five interested folks ventured out in raincoats and boots to see what this was all about. They were greeted by their hosts, who although they came from varying places, all had in common a love for Maine’s intertidal zone. Aaron Dority, Executive Director of the Frenchman Bay Conservancy, extended a hearty welcome and then handed the floor over to Anica Miller-Rushing from Downeast Conservation Network. Anica encouraged each person to express what they thought or felt about rockweed and the intertidal area in general. Going around the room it was clear that we all shared at minimum a curiosity and at most a downright obsession with the creatures that live on and near the Ascophyllum nodosum, and the complexity of its responsible stewardship. Some were there as landowners and kayaking enthusiasts. Others came with professional and intellectual interests. Still others were there as students and teachers, eager to gather and share more knowledge.

Hannah Webber visits with other Rockweed enthusiasts.

Hannah Webber from Schoodic Institute led us through an entertaining overview of rockweed biology, including an explanation of the convoluted history of the name of the alga in question. Once known mostly as “knotted wrack” or even “Norwegian kelp,” the species found itself being referred to primarily by its most obvious, descriptive name, “rockweed,” not to be confused with “bladderwrack” which also grows on the rocks, usually right along with rockweed. Hannah shared a whimsical description with us, calling the intertidal “the ribbon of mystery.” She elaborated, saying, “Nautical charts end at the low-tide mark and land maps end at the high-tide mark; the area in between is the ribbon of mystery.”

Chris Petersen examines the rockweed, kelp, shells, and live crabs that Aaron Dority’s son, Leif, brought up from the shore.

Chris Petersen,  a professor of Marine Ecology at College of the Atlantic, expanded on this idea as he delved into the policy issues surrounding land ownership and property claims–a complicated snarl of bureaucracy we won’t get into here. We were also joined by a local artist, Jenny Rock, who had carved beautiful block stamps for us to help explore our creative side. The result was a gorgeous collaborative art piece festooned with the prints and quotes like, “The ocean’s bounty is a kingdom of its own.”

Jenny Rock’s hand-carved block stamps

Community art piece

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Armed with fresh knowledge and clipboards the adventurous ones headed down to the shore to learn about the methods of tracking and measuring the growth and health of this brown seaweed. It is difficult to determine the exact age of the individual “plants” because the harsh weather can break them prematurely, but one can get a rough idea by counting the air bladders that grow at a rate of one per year. Eliza Oldach and other COA students have been studying the factors that contribute to the marine alga’s growth, such as variations in temperature and light exposure. Research into the possibility that rockweed has some beneficial carbon-sinking qualities is also ongoing.

Not to be outdone by all of this activity, ten harbor seals converged in the falls right in front of the pavilion in pursuit of the running smelts. It was a gentle and beautiful reminder of why we came out on this drizzly day.

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Maine Composts Week

This week, May 7-13, it’s time to celebrate, learn about, and practice all things compost in Maine!

Organized by the George J. Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions, Maine Composts Week features resources, activities, contests and more, across the state, “to help facilitate improving resource management of organic materials in Maine.” It also coincides with International Compost Awareness Week.

Composting is a way to turn something that could be considered waste into something useful–combining food scraps, grass clippings, leaves, etc. and encouraging the work of microbes and other decomposers to break it all down into soil-enriching humus.

Check out a video shared on the Maine Composts Week Facebook page:

Image is not availableAt MCSV we collect our kitchen scraps and other organic materials generated in our building, and have a two-bin composting set-up at the edge of the woods and yard. We also collect the culled materials from our wild-harvested seaweeds and sell this as compost for gardeners. Seaweeds add abundant minerals, organic material, and even natural chemicals that feed plant growth and health to compost.

And many of us on staff are gardeners ourselves, using MCSV culls as well as seaweeds we collect off nearby shores to grow veggies, flowers, fruits, and herbs. MCSV founders Shep and Linnette Erhart have perhaps one of the most ambitious and seaweed-rich compost piles you’ve ever seen, that feeds their abundant gardens.

The Erharts’ seaweed-enriched compost system

Our Outreach and Education teams also works on local school gardening projects, helping schools incorporate seaweed into their gardens.

Maine Composts Week is about more than composting organic material so it doesn’t end up in landfills–it’s about ending hunger and food insecurity, closing the loop from farm to table to farm (or garden) again, and being more aware of and reducing the packaging of the products we use in our daily lives. As the saying goes, we get better at what we practice, and we’re always practicing something. So why not practice using our resources wisely?

And as always, Eat Your Sea Vegetables! (As food, or in compost to feed the plants that feed you!) :)

 

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Seaweed and verse

QK567_Se1_Sea_Weeds_p022_PS4In celebration of National Poetry Month, and the love of seaweed and words and art, here is a gem we discovered recently at The Public Domain Review, an album filled with Victorian “seaweed pictures” and one of the sweetest seaweed poems, ever…

Ah! call us not weeds —
We are flowers of the sea
For lovely and bright
And gay tinted are we —

We are quite independent
Of culture and showers
Then call us not weeds
We are oceans’s gay flowers.

 

And, another discovery, a poem by Pablo Neruda

XXXIV (You are the daughter of the sea)

You are the daughter of the sea, oregano's first cousin.
Swimmer, your body is pure as the water;
cook, your blood is quick as the soil.
Everything you do is full of flowers, rich with the earth.

Your eyes go out toward the water, and the waves rise;
your hands go out to the earth and the seeds swell;
you know the deep essence of water and the earth,
conjoined in you like a formula for clay.

Naiad: cut your body into turquoise pieces,
they will bloom resurrected in the kitchen.
This is how you become everything that lives.

And so at last, you sleep, in the circle of my arms
that push back the shadows so that you can rest--
vegetables, seaweed, herbs: the foam of your dreams.

And finally a quote from the great naturalist and writer Loren Eiseley

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Sea Vegetables Make a Splash at Adult Ed

Maine Coast residents discover the delights of sea vegetable cookery…

Enthusiastic home cooks gathered recently at Sullivan Town Hall in the Adult Ed kitchen. Their mission? To learn about sea vegetables by trying several fun recipes. Lured by the promise of tasty, high-nutrient-value foods, the group chopped, minced, puréed, blended, basted, and baked their way through three 2-hour classes with delicious results.

Kelp Carrot Soup accompanied by Tangy Olive Tapenade and Sea Seasoned Pita Chips.

The first class concluded with a feast of smooth and creamy Kelp Carrot Soup garnished with sour cream and crumbled Dulse. The soup paired nicely with Pita Chips baked with Maine Coast Sea Vegetables Sea Seasonings®: Sea Salt with Sea Veg, Kelp with Cayenne, and Dulse with Garlic. There was also a slightly spicy and very Tangy Olive Tapenade with Dulse Flakes for dipping.

The second class featured main course selections that filled and delighted all! The highlight of the entire course was the Alaria (“Wild Atlantic Wakame”) Salad with its satisfying umami dressing and spiraled cucumber crunch. (See recipe below.)

Alaria (“Wild Atlantic Wakame”) has had a cold-water soak and a brief hot bath and now is ready to be made into thin strips for salad.

Dulse Cheese Scones, flavorful Black Beans with Kelp, and Southwest Peking Rolls with Toasted Dulse made for an eclectic meal alongside the Wakame Salad.

Things got even sweeter as the class explored ways to include sea vegetables in dessert. Irish Moss, after soaking in cold water, was boiled in milk to make a delightful, light, and healthy pudding. Alaria was whizzed in a blender with frozen berries, banana, and coconut milk for an incredible smoothie. Kelp was reduced with maple syrup, rolled in sesame seeds, and roasted. Dulse Flakes were soaked in dark rum before being added to a rich, dark chocolate brownie batter.

Heather selects some Candied Kelp to take home to share.

Needless to say, there were many exclamations of of joy and sweet surrender as the treats were shared at this last class of the series. Filled with inspiration and supplied with sea vegetables for their own pantries, the cooks returned home to spread the good flavors and healthy benefits of sea veggies with their family and friends.

Stay tuned for news of the next Adult Ed Sea Vegetable cooking class in the near future!

~Kara Ibarguen
MCSV Community  Outreach (and Kelp Krunch™ Baker!)

Seaweed Salad Recipe

  • 2oz Alaria
  • 3 T low-sodium Tamari
  • 3 T Rice Vinegar
  • 2 T Sesame Oil
  • 1 tsp Raw Sugar
  • 1 T Sesame Seeds
  • 1 t finely chopped Green Onions
  • 1/2 European Cucumber, spiralized
  • Crushed Red Peppers to taste (optional)

Soak the Alaria in cold water for 5 minutes. Bring a pot of water to a boil and add the Alaria, cook for 2 minutes. Drain and let cool. Cut or rip the seaweed into 1/2″ strips. Combine the dressing ingredients and mix until the sugar and miso are dissolved. Toast the sesame seeds in a dry skillet until they become aromatic. Spiralize the cucumber into a large bowl. Toss the seaweed with the dressing and put on top of the cucumber. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds, green onion and crushed red pepper, if desired. Yields 6 servings.

Recipe is adapted from one found in “Seaweed: Nature’s Secret to Balancing Your Metabolism, Fighting Disease and Revitalizing Body & Soul” by Valerie Gennari Cooksley, RN

 

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“Did seaweed make us who we are today?”

From the files of fascinating seaweed stories…

Early humans needed most of their energy just to survive, and spent most of their time getting and eating foods to supply the energy they needed. So how did we evolve to have the large brains we have now, which require lots of energy, when most of our ancestors’ energy was used simply to make it to tomorrow?

A recent article on the website of Southern Denmark University highlights a paper that looks at the part that seaweed may have played in the development of the modern, large human brain.

The paper was published in January 2017 in the Journal of Applied Phycology (phycology = study of algae, including but not limited to seaweeds). One of the authors is Ole Mouritsen, a Danish scientist and food enthusiast who’s written several articles about seaweeds as well as the excellent book, Seaweeds: Edible, Available, Sustainable.

Seaweeds’ abundance of minerals, particularly iodine, zinc, magnesium, and other nutrients including polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) and vitamin B12, is cited as a source of nutrients needed by early humans to develop larger, more organized, and complex brains. The authors suggest that access to seaweeds and other coastal foods may have contributed to the development of modern humans.

And you thought seaweeds just tasted good… :)

~~~Eat your sea vegetables!~~~

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Solutions for microplastic pollution

Last year World Oceans Day focused on plastic pollution in the oceans, and we featured a three-part series to celebrate the oceans and highlight the problems, and some potential solutions, of plastics in the sea.

Microplastics are tiny plastic pieces found in ocean waters all over the world that come from fleece and synthetic fabric garments, plastic micro-beads in body care products, and the breakdown of plastics in the water. They are one of the most insidious threats to ocean health, and to the health of all creatures that live in the oceans and eat from the oceans, including humans. Although seaweeds seem to be relatively untouched by microplastics, we recognize that all life in the sea depends on the health of ocean ecosystems.

So we were excited to learn this week of two efforts to curb pollution from microplastics–working right in our washing machines.

The Cora Ball bounces around in the washing machine, or dryer, and collects microplastics and other fibers so they don’t go down the drain, and ultimately out to the sea. It was created by a group of scientists, ocean protectors, innovators, and educators and modeled after the way corals sweep through the water and trap tiny particles of food. (Biomimicry!) Plus they are made from recycled plastic, and are recyclable.

The Guppy Friend also traps plastic particles so they don’t go down the drain, but does so by wrapping around synthetic fabric garments in the wash. Rather than popping a few Cora Balls in the washer, you slide your fleeces into Guppy Friend bags before they go in the machine.

 

From the Cora Ball story:

“We are eating our fleece.

Every time we do laundry, our clothes shed tiny microfibers (including plastic), which go down the drains of our washing machines, through wastewater treatment facilities and into our waterways.

Everyone who wears and washes clothes is part of this pollution. Everyone who eats or breathes could suffer the consequences.”

And we’d add: Everyone can be part of the solution. Just by doing our laundry.

 

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