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Seaweed Week is here: an opportunity to celebrate Maine's kelp harvest season

It's peak harvest season for seaweed farms in Maine. A week-long celebration is kicking off Friday called Seaweed Week.

MAINE, Maine — Maine leads the country in seaweed aquaculture with more than 35 seaweed farms.

The growing season for seaweed is during the winter, and right about this time is the peak harvest season. To celebrate, an event is kicking off Friday called Seaweed Week.

Chefs and bartenders across the state are putting seaweed on their menus in unique ways, from beers to meals to even ice cream!

"It's a great way of getting out to a restaurant, exploring something new, trying a craft cocktail, or maybe like a seaweed beer!" Jaclyn Robidoux, a marine extension associate with the Maine Sea Grant and UMaine Cooperative Extension, said.

Josh Rogers is the founder of Seaweed Week. He is also the owner of Heritage Seaweed in Portland. He said even though seaweed is a small part of our working waterfronts, it's gaining momentum across the state.

"It tastes really good, and it's extremely versatile. It's got this savory kind of umami taste that is really widely appealing. And so you'll see in this restaurant week that you could use it in pizza, in this fancy artfully plated farm to table plates, in burgers, in beer, and all sorts of things," Rogers said.

SoPo Seafood in South Portland is one of the many participating restaurants in Maine. This week, the restaurant will feature seaweed in shooters, cocktails, rice bowls, and other unique creations.

"It's kind of ocean-y. It's one of those hidden layers that you don't always expect!" the chef at SoPo Seafood said.

"To work seaweed into what we do is definitely a natural part of our mission, which is to support the local waterfront of Maine and the coastal communities of Maine," Lucas Myers, one of the co-owners of SoPo Seafood, added.

About 80 restaurants and bars are creating unique items with seaweed this week! Here is a list of all of the participating places. 

For a list of seaweed-related events kicking off Friday, click here.