Midsummer in Maine

That means swimming, cookouts, visits with family and friends…and seaweed harvesting for most species is in full swing.

It also means that our organic inspection process for the year is just wrapping up. This is several weeks of intensive work, including site visits, meetings, and reviewing documentation and plans.

Looking ahead to summer’s second half, don’t forget the first-ever Maine Seaweed Festival on Saturday August 30th at Southern Maine Community College in South Portland! There you’ll find seaweed as art and food, and have a chance to learn about seaweed harvesting, aquaculture, businesses, cooking, healing, and much more. Fun, inspiration, and good food for the whole family!

 

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The Welcome Table

photo   A couple of weeks ago we put up a short post about The Welcome Table, a free community meal in nearby Ellsworth, featuring sea vegetables in the offerings on June 18th.

Kara Ibarguen, who bakes our Kelp Krunch bars, coordinates The Welcome Table, and often brings Krunch bars to share there. This meal was the first to feature sea veggies, including New Potato Salad with dulse flakes, deviled eggs with Dulse with Garlic Sea Seasoning, and hummus with a variety of sea veggies sprinkled on top. Sea Seasonings shakers were also on hand for adding to foods. See our website for the New Potato Salad recipe (slightly modified for the meal–leaving out the pickles, pickle juice, and eggs).

Kara in the Krunch kitchen at Maine Coast

Kara in the Krunch kitchen at Maine Coast

Seraphina Erhart, Maine Coast general manager, daughter of the company’s founders, and lifelong sea veggie eater, did a sea veggie demo, provided samples of dulse flakes with the New Potato Salad recipe, and chatted with guests and volunteers about sea veggies. According to Seraphina, one woman said, ‘I wasn’t too sure about this, but that was some good potato salad!’ For most guests, eating sea veggies was an entirely new experience, though some were familiar with using seaweeds for other things–from garden amendment to lobster bake packing material. One woman said her family used to harvest rockweed.

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Deviled eggs with Dulse with Garlic were a hit!

The deviled eggs with Dulse with Garlic were a huge hit–getting even better reception than regular deviled eggs.

Seraphina says that with the small amount of promotion that Maine Coast Sea Vegetables does, focusing on local foods and local communities, and raising local awareness of sea veggies, are high priorities. So The Welcome Table was a perfect fit. Plus, wanting to support a “great community service.”

Seraphina and the sea veggie spread

Seraphina and the sea veggie spread

Kara  plans to keep using sea veggies in cooking for the weekly meal now, in soups, casseroles, spreads, etc. And Sea Seasonings will stay on hand to join the condiments on tables.

A “Community Transformation” grant from Healthy Acadia, in connection with the Hancock Community Agency helped make it possible to bring sea veggies to The Welcome Table. The grant’s focus is to help connect local people and communities with locally sourced, nutritious foods. Many volunteers also help make the meal possible, including a large pool from Maine People’s Alliance.

About forty meals were served on June 18th, and the numbers fluctuate week to week. The first meal was served on May 16, 2012, and they’ve been served every Wednesday since. The Welcome Table serves every Wednesday at the First Congregational Church in Ellsworth, from 3-6 pm.

Thank you to Kara and Seraphina for spreading the word about sea veggies, and helping local people enjoy delicious, nutritious foods!

 

 

 

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“Sea Belt” brew with Sugar Kelp to debut in Belfast!

According to a recent blog post at the Bangor Daily News’ site, Marshall Wharf Brewery and Three Tides in Belfast will debut their new Scottish ale brewed with Maine Sugar Kelp (Saccharina latissima) tomorrow, July 16th!

Blogger and “craft brew enthusiast” Chad Lothian says of Sea Belt,  which he tasted on a recent visit to Marshall Wharf, “Roasty, smooth, a touch briny, it was excellent.”

This brew will also be found at the Maine Seaweed Festival on Saturday August 30th at Southern Maine Community College in South Portland. That’s right, the first-ever MAINE SEAWEED FESTIVAL! A chance to explore, taste, learn, and discover all things seaweed in Maine.

 

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Seaweed on the radio

Home - WERU FM 89.9 Community Radio, Blue Hill, MaineOn Friday June 13th, seaweed took to the air waves on downeast Maine’s WERU. The show, “A Consumer’s Guide to Maine Sea Vegetables,” was an installment of the popular public affairs program Talk of the Towns.

Hosted by Natalie Springuel of Maine Sea Grant and Cooperative Extension, the show featured guests Sarah Redmond, Marine Extension Associate for seaweed, Hillary Krapf, creator and organizer of the first-ever Maine Seaweed Festival, and Maine Coast Sea Vegetables’ own Liz Solet.

The conversation focused on how to know and enjoy Maine’s sea vegetables, from recipes and preparation tips to whether or not to wash off that white powder you often see on dried sea vegetables, to using seaweeds as superfoods, in healing, and to feed plants and animals. Seaweed wild harvesting and aquaculture/farming were discussed, as well as the history and  sustainability focus of Maine’s seaweed industry.

Many thanks to WERU for putting on the show, Natalie Springuel for being a great host, and to listeners who tuned in and called in with recipes and good questions. You can listen to a podcast of the show here. Enjoy!

 

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“American Catch”

Author Paul Greenberg‘s new book, “American Catch:  The Fight for our Local Seafood” explores the tangled web of where the seafood that Americans eat comes from, and where the seafood we harvest goes.

“What does this have to do with seaweed?” you might ask. Simply put, seaweed is seafood–food from the sea.

This eloquent quote from an opinion piece by Greenberg in The New York Times applies to all seafood, including seaweed:

“We can have no more intimate relationship with our environment than to eat from it. During the last century that intimacy has been lost, and with it our pathway to one of the most healthful American foods. It is our obligation to reclaim this intimacy. This requires us not just to eat local seafood; it requires the establishment of a working relationship with our marine environment. It means, in short, making seafood not only central to personal health, but critical to the larger health of the nation.”

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More on seaweed beer in Belfast

Check out this story from the Maine Public Broadcasting Network for a more in-depth look at the new seaweed beer brewing in Belfast…

Cheers!

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Seaweed beer in Belfast

Marshall Wharf Brewing Co. in Belfast is working on a new beer, Sea Belt Scotch Ale, made with locally harvested sugar kelp (Saccharina latissima) grown by Maine Fresh Sea Farms in Damariscotta.

According to a recent Bangor Daily News article, our friends Sarah Redmond of Maine Sea Grant and Cooperative Extension, Hillary Krapf, creator of the first-ever Maine Seaweed Festival, and Maine Fresh Sea Farms’ Peter Arnold were recently on hand to add some kelp to the brew, which is expected to be “dark, strong, and complex,” and a little salty.

Although beer brewed with seaweed is not completely new (see Seaweed and…Scottish Ale?), according to David Carlson, owner of Marshall Wharf and Three Tides in Belfast, Sea Belt Scotch Ale will be the first in Maine. Look for its debut in mid-July and at Seaweed Fest in South Portland on August 30th!

kelp line may 2013 showing many stipes

 

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Community meal to feature Maine sea vegetables

This week Maine Coast Sea Vegetables’ own Kara Ibarguen–who bakes our delicious Kelp Krunch bars–and general manager Seraphina Erhart will be adding sea veggies to some of the offerings at The Welcome Table, a free community meal that Kara organizes every Wednesday at the First Congregational Church in Ellsworth. On the menu will be several dishes featuring Sea Seasonings and other products–potato salad with Dulse flakes (a modified recipe from our founder, Shep Erhart’s cookbook, Sea Vegetable Celebration), deviled eggs with Dulse with Garlic, hummus with Triple Blend Flakes, and more. Sea Seasonings shakers will be on the tables for sprinkling on foods as well.

Seraphina will demo and sample products, talk with guests at the meal about how to use sea veggies, and share her wealth of knowledge and experience as a lifetime sea veggie eater. The meal will be from 3-6 pm on Wednesday June 18th.

In the past Kara has brought Kelp Krunch to the weekly meals, but this will be the first time that sea vegetables are a featured ingredient. A grant last year from Healthy Acadia that focuses on promoting locally sourced, highly nutritious foods in the downeast region helped make this possible.

Thanks to Kara and Seraphina for putting on the meal, and spreading the word about sea veggies! :)

Maine Coast Sea Vegetables Sea Seasonings

 

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First ever Maine Seaweed Festival!!!

We love seaweed. We depend on it for our livelihoods, we like to eat it, bathe with it, use it on our gardens and feed it to our animals and plants. It nourishes us and even heals us. We find seaweed beautiful, and know many other people do, too.

So we’re beyond excited to take part in the first ever Maine Seaweed Festival this August 30th at Southern Maine Community College in South Portland. Featuring seaweed in food, art, craft, science, healing, small businesses, harvesting demos, beach walks, talks, and more, the event will provide many ways to experience and learn about seaweed.

Sign up for updates and to get involved at the Seaweed Fest website!

The mission of The Maine Seaweed Festival (Seaweed Fest) is to raise awareness and educate the public about the positive impact that Maine macroalgae is having in our local food culture, agriculture and aquaculture industries, as well as it’s growing role in the academic arts and sciences. And it will be a lot of fun.

 

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Happiness = Smoked Dulse!

Well, it’s been a long time coming but as of today Smoked Dulse is BACK!!! It’s now available on our webstore again, in 2 oz and by the pound (limit two pounds per person, for now).

Fresh DulseFor those who’ve never tried it, our Smoked Dulse is cold-temperature smoked on applewood to preserve enzymes and other nutrients, and packs a delicious smoky flavor and chewy texture. It gives a bacon-y flavor and works well in a “DLT” or any kind of sandwich. And it’s tasty right out of the bag.

This is an exciting day!

 

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