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Is Kelp The New Kale?

With the use of local seaweed in the food industry on the rise, kale may as well say good riddance, for its time is up. Sourced from Acadia, Maine, and shipped throughout New England, kelp is ringing in a whole new flavor. Better yet, these sea-based algae not only enhance the taste of food, but they are good for you too. Healthy and irresistible…is that even practical?

Now, the thought of seaweed as a food does truthfully sound repulsive. But do not be fooled, this Maine product has made its way throughout most of New England.

Clover, a restaurant chain throughout Boston, will introduce seaweed in their Maine based BLT. All ingredients, not surprisingly, are sourced from Maine and are creatively put together for a great tasting sandwich. The upcoming BLT will feature mill grains used for their pita bread, house-made sriracha mayo, locally grown tomatoes, and of course, kelp that comes from Ironbound Island Seaweed Company in Acadia, Maine. Additionally, the chain will bring back their seasonal New England Shiitake Chowder that also incorporates the delicious product. The company claims it is an imitation of the traditional New England Clam Chowder, just with a different ingredient. Soon, Clover plans on adding seaweed to more recipes and dishes on their menu, such as seaweed jerky, mentioned by Jenny Zhao, the company’s Director of Digital Marketing.

Alongside Clover are a plethora of Boston-based restaurants with the same idea: kelp is indeed, the new kale. Let’s see just what they have got in mind:

Eventide Oyster in Fenway garnishes their potato chips with nori as well as including the same ingredient in their salad dressing. Pokeworks in Somerville’s quaint Davis Square provides customers with the option of either hijiki or oji for their delicious Pokebowls. Just a train ride away in Cambridge, MotherJuice offers nori in their Deconstructed Sushi Bowl. As for Flatbread, the chain found throughout the New England coast offers seaweed in their organic salad.

But the lingering concern is whether this newest obsession truly is truly worth the rave. Many scientists claim that kelp provides nutrients and minerals such as Vitamin B-12, Iodine, Calcium and Magnesium. Not only that, but seaweed is providing versatility in recipes that the Western world never deemed acceptable until now.

In the mood for a refreshing smoothie? UNH fisheries specialist, Gabriela Bradt, shares a recipe which includes fresh berries, fruit juice, spinach (other veggies optional), and re-hydrated seaweed. How about a savory dish? Legal Sea Foods offers cod with ‘bacon braised sugar kelp’, mentioned in an article from The Boston Globe. Just like kale, seaweed can be used in various, unexpected ways. Yet this sea derived product found on the New England coast has interrupted the food market, showing off its array of colors, flavors, and variations. In time, foodies will love it, restaurants will cherish it, and kale will abhor it.

That said, good-bye kale. Hello kelp!

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