Atlantic Holdfast is a small company working to sustainably hand-harvest high quality sea vegetables from the Gulf of Maine. Our harvesting operation is based on a remote island in outer Penboscot Bay, 7 miles off Stonington, ME, where the strong currents, active surf, and full exposure to the open ocean have allowed these seaweeds to thrive for millennia.
The harvest is guided by the lunar cycle, occurring at all hours of day and night as determined by the tides, rising and falling as much as 13 feet in 6 hours. We travel in small boats to the kelp beds and exposed ledges to harvest, working quickly during the brief windows of time when access is permitted by the receding tide. We work carefully within this turbulent environment, selectively cutting each variety with specific techniques developed to ensure the long-term health of this unique ecosystem. Once landed the seaweed is immediately hung to dry, reaching a shelf stable condition within 24-36 hours, at which point it stores indefinitely.
These plants have evolved in one of the most turbulent ecosystems on the planet, and can lend some of their strength and tenacity to our bodies in holding fast during times of stress and transition.
Bladder Wrack (Fucus Vesiculosis) - aids the thyroid in regulating hormone production, and is primarily used medicinally.
Irish Sea Moss (Chondrus Crispus) - The term “Sea Moss” is used to describe several unrelated species of seaweed that contain thickening properties, some of which have been bleached in the sun and rain, resulting in loss of nutritional value. Chondrus crispus is the only true “Irish Moss,” growing exclusively in the cold, clean waters of the north Atlantic. Known to the Irish as “Carageen Moss” the word “carrageenan” is now an umbrella term referring to a collection of industrial food additives chemically extracted from multiple species of marine algae for use as thickeners and stabilizers. These words are sometimes used interchangeably, leading to confusion about the difference between the whole seaweed and the processed extracts. Industrial carrageenan products contain little if any nutritional value. In addition to the full complement of trace minerals found in all seaweeds, Irish Moss contains unique anti-viral properties. It has been used internally to treat coughs and chest infections, and topically to relieve shingles and other skin conditions.
Kombu Kelp (Laminaria Digitata) - Rich in flavor enhancing glutamates, this seaweed can be cut up dry with scissors into small squares and added to soups, stews, rice, beans, and mixed vegetable dishes. It contains the highest levels of iodine and trace minerals of any seaweed we harvest, along with beneficial sodium alginate which has been found to bind with heavy metals and help remove them from the body.
Wakame (Alaria Esculenta) - A staple ingredient in miso soup, wakame is also one of the most versatile seaweeds Atlantic Holdfast harvests. With a mild flavor and delicate texture, it readily absorbs the flavors of dressings, sauces, and other ingredients with which it is paired. It can be cut dry with scissors and added to soup, cooked till tender then chilled and mixed with cucumbers and sesame seeds for a salad, or stewed like a green vegetable with other flavorful ingredients.