Wild Harvested Seaweeds from the Gulf of Maine
Maine Coast Sea Vegetables is located at the very head of Frenchman's Bay. Our certified organic sea veggies are hand harvested from the rocky, sparsely populated "Downeast" coastal area between Bar Harbor and Eastport. As well as Grand Manan Island, Canada, just 16 miles from Eastport Maine. The Harvest begins in early April, with snow pack often still on the ground and the shallow coastal inlets still frozen. The low tides of October bring us our last dulse — if we're lucky! All plants are wild and certified organic.
Organic Certification means higher quality
You may wonder why we went to the trouble and expense to become certified organic by Organic Crop Improvement Association (OCIA), particularly as we already test our dried seaweeds for heavy metals, herbicides, pesticides, and microbiological contaminants. It's true that compared to land plants, we have little control over the growing conditions of our wild marine plants. But we do have choices about how, when, where, and how much we harvest, as well as how the seaweeds are transported, dried, stored and packaged.
The Organic Standards developed by OCIA address all these areas where unacceptable practices may lead to resource depletion, product contamination, or inferior quality. These standards give clear and uniform direction to all of us (more than 40 now) responsible for harvesting and handling these precious plants. We feel this results in a higher quality as well as a cleaner product for you. Definitely worth the trouble!
Harvesting for a superior product
Bringing sea veggies from the sea to your plate requires many hands. Perhaps none are more important than the harvesters who select the wild plants from the beds where they grow in remote bays. The kelp harvesters are the first to get their boats in the water and don their wetsuits or hipboots in early April. When it isn't clear enough to sun dry these prime plants, indoor drying with wood heat or forced hot air are used.
Since 1993 all this harvesting, hauling and storing had been accomplished following the world's first organic certification standards for sea vegetables. This means that each harvester must monitor their beds for sustainability. They must keep their freshly picked plants clear of possible contaminants throughout the harvest transport, drying and packing process. They are randomly inspected to insure compliance. We also test plants for contaminants that are water born, such as heavy metals, PCBs, herbicides, pesticides, E. coli, yeasts and molds.