Austin seaweed farm is one-of-a-kind

Print
Email
|

by HEATHER KOVAR

khou.com

Posted on May 5, 2014 at 4:08 PM

AUSTIN -- When you think of locally grown products, you may think of peaches, beef or tomatoes.

Now you can add seaweed.

Aqua Dulce Farm in Southeast Austin is growing it for restaurants. Founder and President Jack Waite believes they're the only ones in 48 states to grow seaweed.
 
"This is ogonori. Which ogo is a type of seaweed in the Pacific Ocean. Nori means seaweed," said Waite.

While this farm in Southeast Austin is no ocean,it does use an aquaponic method to raise organic vegetables and fish and now seaweed.
 
"This grows in the Pacific ocean really well, thrives in tropical climates, and we thought we would reproduce that in Austin," said Waite.

It's taken his salt water specialist four years to figure out how.

"We feed it oxygen at a certain rate, at a certain level," Waite said.

He started with a sample from Hawaii, and has been selling mostly to chefs for a year and a half.

During KVUE's visit, Jerry Goodwin, sous chef with Barton Creek Omni resort, was there buying seaweed for his restaurant.

"It's extremely nutritious, delicious. It's got a good texture," said Goodwin.

Goodwin tries to stop by weekly for the restaurant. Waite also delivers. KVUE followed him on a delivery to Barley Swine on South Lamar. He brought various lettuces and seaweed.

Back out at Aqua Dulcet, they also raise fish for restaurants.

"We have all blue gill and native Texas fish," said Waite.

What's interesting is how this  ecosystem works.

"Each of these plugs, rests on top of this raft, which floats on water. Underneath there the roots grow out," said Waite.

The roots absorb the nutrients and nitrates produced from fish waste.
The plants in turn, filter the water for the fish, which is pumped back into their tanks.
 
"It uses about 90 percent less water than a conventional farm would to grow this much lettuce," said Waite.

Go here to learn more about Agua Dulce Farm.

 

Print
Email
|