Visit to our Seaweed Farm at Cortes Island

by Desirée Dupuis on April 15, 2022
seaweed farming, seaweed boat, seaweed snacks, seaweed foods

If you follow us on Instagram (@koveocean) you would have seen my journey to Cortes Island and the footage of our team at Cascadia Seaweed harvesting our gorgeous, ultra sustainable crop. 

The experience blew me away! I already knew what we are doing at Cascadia is meaningful, impactful and incredible; however seeing the lines of seaweed first hand and witnessing our team doing excellent work despite horrible weather conditions was beyond impressive.

I personally live downtown Vancouver so the trip at first seemed a little daunting with not just one, but three ferries to get to the final destination! One ferry from Horseshoe Bay to Departure Bay, a second ferry from Campbell River to Quadra Island followed by the last ferry from Heriot Bay to Whaletown on Cortes.

Of course the travel day was beautiful and sunny which made the trip extremely enjoyable; nothing beats blue skies and sunshine on the ferry and cruising the highway rocking good tunes and a pair of shades!

Upon arrival at the Gorge Marina Resort we were greeted by our team of seaweed skippers and the gentlest four legged friend. 

We hopped on a boat with our teammate Sean and after about 10 minutes of the wind blowing through our air we arrived at our seaweed farm. If you don't know what a seaweed farm looks like, let me tell you this, it actually doesn't look like much! Seaweed seedling babies are placed on twine and wrapped around long lines of rope where they are let out on the water and the seaweed grows down into the ocean from the rope. So from the human eye, all you can really see are a few buoys and rope just under the ocean's crest.

We do set up a temporary barge so the team can pull up the ropes and cut the curtains of glorious seaweed off manually with hand held knives.

After checking out the scene and conducting some short impromtu interviews we made our way back to the lovely Cortes Island Motel and packed it in for the night in preparation of an early start and a long day. As per our good ol friend Murphy, the clouds started to open and the rain began to pour down. With an expensive filmmaker and videography equipment in tote, I prayed the rain would let up for the morning but it did not.

Despite the rain and wind, we made our way out to the farm and onto the barge where the team was setting up for another day of harvest. IT.WAS.COLD. The rain was coming down hard and the wind was blowing it sideways. Needless to say we were unable to capture the footage we had hoped for including the documentary style interviews we had planned. We did spend some time slipping and sliding around the boat capturing what we could on our iPhones and on the goPro, haha! We also had a little rain gear for one of the cameras so we were able to use that a bit but mostly we stayed in the cabin trying to stay dry while watching the crew hard at work with not a word of a complaint.

During our short time on the boat, I was able to spend a bit of time speaking with a few of our crew members, Cam, Jay, Savanna, and Ira. All of them expressed joy and love for their work and gratitude to Cascadia Seaweed for providing meaningful employment opportunities. It made me feel quite proud speaking with local people who live on Cortes and hearing them express appreciation for the work they are able to do.

Now, our work at Kove continues.. creating the tastiest, most delicious food products made with Cascadia Seaweed!

I spotted our first product, SEA SPICE, on the shelf at the Cortes Co-op! We have two more flavours, Sriracha, and Lemon, coming out in June followed by our seaweed protein puffs and seaweed tortilla chips. 

- Desiree


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