Shep and Linnette Erhart, of Franklin, Maine, were back-to-the-landers in the 1970s, eating macrobiotically and gagging on the cost of the imported seaweed in their daily miso soup. While picnicking Down East one day, they spotted some seaweed that looked similar. “We took some home and put it in our soup pot,” Shep recalls. “Delicious.”
They began gathering the tasty brown fronds from the ocean, drying them on racks hung from their kitchen and dining-room ceilings. “We ruined our wallpaper. We were definitely different in our neighborhood,” he quips. But after they gave some seaweed to friends and health-food stores, a business sprouted.
From a first-year output of 200 pounds, today Maine Coast Sea Vegetables harvests more than 100,000 pounds and sells multiple varieties of certified organic seaweed in raw, dried, smoked, and flaked forms, and even in Kelp Krunch bars. Try a “DLT” (dulse, lettuce, and tomato) — the recipe (and many more) is available online at: seaveg.com