Meet Alanna Kieffer, farmer and manager at Oregon Seaweed, our newest farm partner. To learn more about West Coast Dulse, we sat down with Alanna to get the scoop on all things dulse.
1. What is your role at Oregon Seaweed and how did you get interested in seaweed?
I’m a marine biologist in a family of chefs and food writers, so it’s no surprise that I’ve found my way into the world of sustainable seafoods and seaweed! I’m extremely passionate about PNW Intertidal Ecosystems and was so stoked to hear about a pacific dulse seaweed farm being built in my backyard. I now work as a farmer and general manager for Oregon Seaweed, where most of my work is around the education and outreach around seaweed as a sustainable and versatile food source.
2. Can you tell us about the farm? How does the dulse grow?
Oregon Seaweed grows Pacific Dulse on land in 2,500 gallon recirculating seawater tanks. We’re located on the shore of the beautiful Tillamook Bay. Water enters our tanks from the bay and is constantly bubbled or circulated to keep the seaweeds suspended in the water column. Dulse grows in little “tufts” that get larger and larger and break into pieces over time.
3. How is dulse different from other seaweeds / what is special about dulse?
Dulse is a red seaweed! And to me is one of the most versatile seaweeds around. It can be eaten fresh, sautéed, fried, oven roasted, added to smoothies, the list goes on and on! Some people say that when dulse is fried it has a rich, umami, even “bacon-y” flavor.
4. How much dulse do you harvest in a (week / month / year)?
On average we harvest about 100 pounds of dulse a week! Both local and regional restaurants as well as retail stores use our dulse in a variety of ways.
5. What's your current favorite way to eat / cook with dulse?
That’s so hard! I’m constantly using dulse and love incorporating it in new ways. But forever, fried dulse has been my favorite. I’ll sauté it in a pan with oil until it gets crispy and add it into stir frys. It adds salt as well as a rich flavor. Dried dulse can be rehydrated and used just like fresh which I think is pretty awesome. I also love adding fresh dulse to summer smoothies (just like kale!), it doesn’t add much flavor but does feel like such a nutrient boost!