With growing concerns about ocean cleanliness it’s important to know where your seaweed comes from. The cold, clean waters off the Maine coast provide the perfect climate for bountiful seaweed production. After the disaster of Fukushima consumers have begun to seek out Maine Sea Vegetables at an increased rate and with the extra growth of the business, we have been able to cultivate several species of seaweed here in the Gulf of Maine. Sustainability is our goal, we need to protect our wild Sea Vegetables from over-harvesting.
Sea Vegetable cultivation began in the US in 2011. It started on the east coast, primarily in Connecticut, New York, and Maine. Sarah, my stepdaughter introduced Maine to seaweed cultivation, with help from Professor Charles Yarish, of the University of Connecticut. Watch video
Cultivating your own seaweed has a lot of benefits! You use no ground space, no fertilizers, no pesticides, no insecticides, no fresh water, and sea vegetables are great for your oceans as well as your gardens. It is the most sustainable way to farm. This is a win-win situation all the way around. Most of the planting, growing and harvesting is done in the winter/ early spring. I don’t know how many of you have ever been in Maine in the winter but it is cold. I once saw a video of one of our sea vegetable farmers who showed us a picture of his work vehicle. It was his boat covered with snow and ice; yes they go out and work the lines in very cold weather.
It is starting to transform the coast of Maine. A working coastline has always been important for us here and with the fishing industry really hurting in this state, this is a great way for the fishermen to continue working out on the sea.
Why eat Sea Vegetables?
Because they taste GREAT! Use in place of salt and bring out the flavor of your food while loading up on nutrients! See my Cooking with Seaweed Blog for helpful hints and a few recipes! Because Sea Vegetables are grown in the ocean versus on land they are much more nutrient dense than any land vegetable.
Seaweed is a rich source of protein, essential amino acids, vitamins A, B, B1, B2, B12 C, D, E calcium, chromium, carotene, iodine, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, iron, and zinc! Plus they are a powerful antioxidant!
There are many different types of Sea Vegetables and they all have their own well of nutrients. The best way to get all that seaweed has to offer is to eat a variety of it. I find the easiest way to do that is buy dry seaweed flakes. I sprinkle that in much of my foods. If I want something smaller, I grind some up and use that in my cooking in place of salt! I usually have more than one kind of sea vegetables on hand and that way I can combine them for greater nutrition in my diet. Watch video on the benefits of Kelp
I am including a list here of several companies here in Maine that sell Sea Vegetables. You can buy them off these websites. I have gotten to know a fair amount of these people and they all truly love what they do and the benefit that they provide us by harvesting this nutrient rich food from the sea. Prices vary between companies but most of the websites are full of information about sea vegetables, their nutrients and most of them have pictures of them harvesting from the Maine Coast.
Find helpful tips and recipes for cooking with seaweed!