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Kelp: A crop from the ocean floor

December 5, 2009 |  5:36 am

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Reporting from Falmouth, Maine - Paul Dobbins and Tollef Olson admit they still have a kink in their scheme to use seaweed to revolutionize American eating habits, clean the environment, lower the federal trade deficit and make themselves fabulously rich.

Call it the yuck factor.

"It tastes better than it looks," said Olson, holding a shimmering frond of brown horsetail kelp he had just plucked from the cold gray waters of Casco Bay. "Really."

Dobbins and Olson run what is believed to be America's only commercial kelp farm. Inspired by mega-aquaculture sites in Asia, and a $7-billion global seaweed industry, the two entrepreneurs started cultivating kelp here last year and have begun marketing it as an exotic frozen vegetable.

"It's a giant brown algae in the water, but it turns bright green when it's cooked," Olson said. "Think kelp noodles. And kelp salad. And kelp slaw." Read more here:

Photo credit: Paul Dobbins is co-owner of Ocean Approved, what is believed to be the nation's only kelp farm. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)



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