New England farmers look to make seaweed a local crop

[USA] The next time you pick seaweed off your body while swimming in the ocean, chew on this: New England seaweed is a nutrient-rich food that could wind up on your plate.

Imported seaweed has long been used in Northeast salads, slaws, and smoothies. And, in restaurants like Legal Seafoods, it has been featured in entrees as well.

“It’s great to cook with,” Rich Vellante, Legal Seafoods executive chef, told The Boston Globe .”I like the texture of it, the salinity of it, and the mineral characteristics it has.”

But the majority of seaweed gets imported from Asia, Paul Dobbins, president and cofounder of Ocean Approved, a kelp farming operation in Portland, Maine, told the Globe.

Vellante, who has used imported seaweed to make, for example, roasted cod with nori butter and a bacon-braised sugar kelp (he cooked the kelp with bacon, apple cider, onions, and honey), may soon be able to use local seaweed instead. The seaweed farming process involves seeding spores into the open ocean, which is still rare in North America. But that is changing.

Sarah Redmond, who promotes marine science for Maine Sea Grant, is training folks to start seaweed farms down the East Coast.

Said Dobbins about the effort to provide local seaweed: “The response has been tremendous.”

 

View original article at: New England farmers look to make seaweed a local crop

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