Globally, seaweed production has grown by nearly 75 percent in the past decade.
After news of the blob coming our way, here is another useful seaweed story in excellent interactive format:
Seaweed Is Having Its Moment in the Sun
It’s being reimagined as a plastic substitute, even as cattle feed. But can seaweed thrive in a warming world?
For centuries, it’s been treasured in kitchens in Asia and neglected almost everywhere else: Those glistening ribbons of seaweed that bend and bloom in cold ocean waves. Continue reading →
Melissa Clark has appeared in our pages plenty of times, starting in 2014 when we were launching a restaurant whose menu featured tasty, nutritious and environmentally friendly dishes–i.e. the types of foods she promotes. Today’s pitch is right in line with those we have featured before:
Kelp is delicious and versatile, and farming it is actively good for the ocean. Melissa Clark wants you to just try a bite.
Justin Papkee, kept company by his dog, Seguin, pulling up a line of kelp. Harvesting wild kelp is ancient, but farming it is a relatively new practice in the United States. Matt Cosby for The New York Times
PORTLAND, Me. — It was a sharp, windy March day, but the gray water of Casco Bay glimmered green in the sun. On his lobster boat, the Pull N’ Pray, Justin Papkee scanned the surface of the ocean, searching for his buoys. But he wasn’t looking for lobster traps.
Mr. Papkee was farming, not fishing: His crop, clinging to ropes beneath the cold waves, was seaweed, thousands of pounds of brownish kelp undulating under the surface. Growing at a rate of 4 to 6 inches per day for the past six months, it was nearly ready to be harvested and sent to restaurants like Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Estela, Houseman, Saint Julivert Fisherie and Luke’s Lobster in New York, and Honey Paw, Chaval and the Purple House here in Maine.
Justin’s father, Chris Papkee, at left, and Jimmy Ranaghan removing the kelp from the long ropes on which it grows. Matt Cosby for The New York Times
He pulled a blade of kelp from his line and handed me a long, translucent strip. I took a bite, and then another, seawater running down my chin.
I’d eaten plenty of seaweed salads at Japanese and vegan restaurants, but this was not that. A variety called skinny kelp, it was lightly salty and profoundly savory, with a flavor like ice-cold oyster liquor, and a crisp, snappy texture somewhere between stewed collard greens and al dente fettuccine. The chef Brooks Headley, who adds it in slippery slivers to the barbecued carrots he serves at Superiority Burger in New York, described it in an email as “insanely delicious and texturally incredible.” Continue reading →
Red (despite the color) seaweed in spaghetti style. Photo © Ricardo Radulovich, UCR professor
A little less than a year ago, I read a very interesting article in The New Yorker about growing seaweed in Long Island Sound, off the shore of Connecticut, that held inspiring information on the environmental effects of farming the marine macroalgae: it absorbs excess nitrogen, phosphorus, and carbon dioxide from the ocean, all of which otherwise negatively affect the ecosystem’s health. Seaweed also can be a solid source of protein, vitamin B12, Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, and fiber. So growing it is good for the oceans as well as our bodies.
Today, I was reminded about Dana Goodyear’s piece from last November as I read a headline on the University of Costa Rica’s webpage announcing that researchers from their School of Agricultural Engineering and Biosystems, after years of trial studies, will be promoting the growth of seaweed farming off of both coasts of Costa Rica, where they hope it will become a significant food source for the country. Continue reading →