Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County's Marine Program (CCE) has teamed up with Greenport Harbor Brewing Company
(GHBC) to highlight seaweed aquaculture - a unique emerging "green industry" which could lead to promising environmental and economic benefits - during a Kelp Art + and Awareness Event on Friday, January 12.
CCE is in the midst of conducting the Peconic Estuary Kelp Aquaculture Feasibility Study (funded by Suffolk County Quality Protection and Restoration Program and Land Stewardship Initiative), which will evaluate the efficiency of this new industry in Suffolk County. If feasible, it could potentially improve water quality by removing excess nutrients, and creating a highly coveted, renewable product. During the pilot study, conducted in collaboration with The University of Connecticut, kelp is being grown throughout five locations within the Peconic Estuary.
In addition to analyzing the viability of growing kelp in the Peconic Estuary, CCE has also been exploring varied industries (such as culinary, pharmaceutical, cosmetic, and agricultural) where kelp can be highlighted.
"We're so happy to have partnered with Greenport Harbor Brewing
Company to present this event," noted Kimberly Barbour, Marine Program Outreach Manager at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County. "It's always great to collaborate with local businesses who care about our local waters."
Among those explored is beer, and the masterminds at Greenport Harbor Brewing Company have created a full-bodied porter that utilizes sugar kelp - one of the most widely cultivated seaweeds worldwide - that was harvested from local waters by CCE. This limited edition brew will make its official debut during the event.
"The event is free and all are welcomed to come out and try the special edition beer that Greenport Harbor Brewing Co. crafted using local kelp we provided," she shared.
Additionally, several local businesses and makers - including Life is Gruff Bakery, Nauti Gal Soap, The Dirty Mermaid, Southampton Soap Company
, and Mana Made Jewelry - will also show off how they have incorporated kelp provided by CCE Marine Program.
"Life is Gruff Bakery will be launching their kelp dog treat line at this event!" Barbour said.
A special exhibition curated by GHBC's gallerist Ann Vandenburgh will be unveiled at the event. "We gave local artists a challenge to transform grain sacks recycled from the brewing operation into kelp inspired artwork," Barbour noted. "Local artists including Cindy Pease Roe, Kara Hoblin, Scott Bluedorn
, Randee Dadonna and Carolyn Munaco will have work on view that will be unveiled at the event and remain on display through January 28th. A percentage of proceeds from work sold will support our efforts."
Experts from CCE Marine Program will be on site to inform attendees about the Kelp Aquaculture Feasibility Study and to answer kelp related queries. Guests will also enjoy live music from Rob Europe.
"The event GHBC will be hosting with us at their Peconic brewery location will be a fun opportunity for the public to learn more about the potential of kelp farming in our local waters, and how this may bring economic and environmental benefits to the region," Barbour explained.
The Kelp Art + and Awareness Event will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. Admission is free.
Greenport Harbor Brewing Company's Peconic brewery is located at 42155 Main Road in Peconic. For more information, call 631-727-7850 or visit ccesuffolk.org.
Nicole is the Editor-in-Chief of Hamptons.com where she focuses on lifestyle, nightlife, and mixology. She grew up in the Hamptons and currently resides in Water Mill. www.hamptons.com