Early Thursday afternoon, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and Suffolk County Legislator Al Krupski climbed aboard a barge and headed into the Peconic Bay. Their mission: to harvest sugar kelp, a type of seaweed.
The officials participated in the first harvest of Cornell Cooperative Extension Marine Program’s pilot Peconic Estuary Seaweed Aquaculture Feasibility Study, which is funded in part through Suffolk County.
While leafy greens like kale have become a popular snack for healthy eaters, there could soon be a new food everyone on the North Fork is buzzing about: seaweed.
Aquaculturist Bren Smith of Thimble Island Oyster Company in Connecticut is the first sugar kelp grower to cultivate the sea vegetable from Long Island Sound waters. He is working with food industry insiders, including expert chefs from New York City, and international supermarket chains to help drive market demand for domestically grown kelp products. (Credit: Bren Smith)
It’s a delicacy Asian cultures have enjoyed for centuries but is more commonly thought of as the slippery — and sometimes slimy — brown stuff that grows naturally in area waters and then washes up on beaches.
And one day, it could be a major moneymaker for the North Fork. (more…)
Industry leaders describe the brown leafy vegetable as salty, sweet, firm and gluten-free, although it can take on different textures depending on preparation techniques. In April, kelp grown by Bren Smith in Connecticut’s Long Island Sound waters was served at a White House dinner — a first, he said, for domestically cultivated kelp. (more…)
The North Fork isn’t just corn, strawberries, pumpkins and grapes. While it remains to be seen what will become of the region’s kelp, you should keep an eye out for these locally grown products that are anything but the typical crop. (more…)
• Cosmetic and
Rich in calcium, folic acid and vitamins A,B,D,E and K — among many other minerals and nutrients — kelp proves useful in a myriad of pharmaceutical supplements and cosmetic products. (more…)