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179 Mechanic Street
Stonington, CT, 06379
United States

860-501-6848

Mechanic Street Marina is a veteran owned and operated marina located in Pawcatuck, CT on the Pawcatuck River. Mechanic Street offers 25 slip rentals each season (May-Oct) winter storage,and Kayak/SUP rentals

Stonington Kelp Co

Happy New Year #2019

James Douglas

Happy New Year!

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Stonington Kelp Co (aka Jay and I) are very excited to have had a successful (meaning I only dropped the vice grips one time) out-planting season. This year, we were graciously aided by our friend, Josh Wilkenson, who kept the peace on the boat. For us, out-planting is still a three person operation.

October was spent prepping gear, November was spent setting our gear, and we out-planted the first week of December. This year was quite smooth because we did not try and battle mother nature. We turned in when the weather was bad, understanding that being on the water, in winter, in a small skiff, in 34 degree weather is dangerous.

Our seed was provided by Greenwave and their partners for the 2018-2019 season. It was nurtured in a hatchery a few miles away from our site and is currently enjoying the cold currents passing through the fisher’s island sound.

One exciting new addition to our 2019 gear is mustang jackets which allow us to work easily without our life vests snagging on cleats. This is an indulgent purchase but on the other hand it could save our lives and it makes me feel quite official.

For now, we wait and visit the farm as often as the weather allows to ensure the kite-string is not compromised. Updates to come on how warm the jacket really is. I’ve only tested it out in above freezing air temps….

The Umami Effect...

James Douglas

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Recently, we had a few friends over for dinner. I was making spaghetti and quinoa balls and a Cesar salad. I don't eat meat but I do eat fish (the local stuff that we can catch ourselves up here)...but my friend Lauren is a strict vegetarian. I wanted to make the salad but wanted to make sure she could eat it because I am nice like that.

The anchovies that typically go in Cesar dressing needed to be replaced. I figured that the amazing umami flavor of kelp may be an acceptable stand-in for my non-fish eating friend. I consulted google and found a few vegan recipes for Cesar dressing - since Lauren eats cheese I slipped in some dairy - and the result was pretty amazing.  It was incredible what this Umami flavor can do - it opened up a whole new world for me. The dried kelp flakes basically add that special, uniquley savory, taste to your meals without using any animal based products - and frankly without using anything that is bad for the planet (considering that kelp is zero-input farming, uses no fresh water, no land, requires no fertilizer etc). I also am noticing that in certain dishes, the kelp flakes replace the need to use salt which is good for me and the fam.

I also made some homemade croutons with old hot dog rolls that were about to get tossed. I  made a mixture of  olive oil, fresh garlic, salt/pepper, and kelp flakes and drizzled it over the torn pieces of bread then baked them until they were crispy and brown (about 20 minutes at 375).

Lauren keeps asking me to share the recipe so I am and I hope you like it!

  • 1/4 cup oil.
  • 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese crumbled really well (I used the pre-crumbled kind)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice.
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar.
  • 1/2 tsp dijon mustard.
  • 1/2 tsp kelp flakes (pictured above)
  • pepper to taste

 

Stonington Kelp Co

James Douglas

Introducing Stonington Kelp Co! We have created an official farm with a fancy new name. Stonington Kelp Co is located off the shores of Mystic CT in the fishers island sound and grows sugar kelp in the winter months. Our kelp is nourished by the cold new England waters that pass through the sound (and jostled by the NorEasters that come our way) and is available in spring for you to eat. Our 2019 crop get's pulled in March, April and May. Follow our instagram @stoningtonkelpco or contact mechanicstreetmarina@gmail.com for kelp questions!

The Human Element

James Douglas

Setting up the farm and actually farming is most of the work - but there was a surprising amount of outreach that comes along with farming kelp. Jay and I found ourselves in front of more cameras than we expected.

We have been very fortunate to have Greenwave's support in both our farming set up, but also introducing us to journalists who are interested in learning more about kelp farming. Recently, a reporter from the Westerly Sun wrote up a lovely article about the kelp farm which is I am sharing below...at the very least - it has hilariously unflattering photos of me (as pointed out by all three of my brothers).

You can read the SUN article here.

We were also lucky enough to meet Leslie Stahl on a 60 minutes feature she worked on around kelp farming that featured Greenwave. Its very informative so if you haven't seen it, take a look!

60 Minutes Special