Kelp Is on the Way

One local seaweed farm is redefining the power food as something that boosts both our health and the planet

Without question, kelp’s star is on the rise as an “it” ingredient. But it’s also a delicious—and crucial—silver bullet in the battle against climate change, and Biddeford-based Atlantic Sea Farms is leading that charge. They became the country’s first commercial seaweed farm in 2009, and since then they have been partnering with national names like sweetgreen and chef David Chang, selling like hotcakes at Sprouts, Whole Foods, and—and in the process, removing tons of carbon from the oceans every year.

“It’s one of the most nutrient-dense, regenerative foods on the planet,” says CEO Briana Warner. “It doesn’t need fertilizers or land to grow. It provides marine habitat for wildlife, and it removes carbon from water and reduces ocean acidification.”

Fresh-frozen kelp cubes, salads, and kraut are an umami-bomb flavor jolt to countless dishes.
Seaweed salads, kimchis, and krauts add oomph to countless dishes.

Atlantic Sea Farms turns their harvests into fermented seaweed salads, kimchis, and krauts, plus frozen pureed kelp cubes for adding to salads, popping into smoothies, or whizzing up into a pesto that’s nothing short of an umami-bomb.

Find an easy, big-flavor recipe for kelp pesto on

Fresh Kelp Pesto

Adapted from Harbor Fish Market.
Makes 1 cup

This pesto covers 12–16 ounces of pasta, depending on how saucy you like it. It’s also terrific over chicken, fish, steak, pizza, or as a dip for chips or crudités.

2 ounces fresh basil leaves (no stems; about 6 cups loosely packed)
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
⅓ cup pine nuts, lightly toasted and cooled
⅓ cup finely grated pecorino cheese
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 cube Atlantic Sea Farms pureed fresh kelp
1 clove garlic
½ teaspoon kosher salt

Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Puree until smooth.