‘GMRI’ Kicks Off Seaweed Week With Thirty Vendors at Waterfront Expo


Ken Sparta, Owner of Spartan Sea Farms, of Freeport,  With One of His Two Employees Nicole Potter Pearing Through a Display of Sugar Kelp at the Gulf of Maine Research Institue Expo This  Afternoon;  Part of the 6th Annual Seaweed Week.  There were Approximately 80 lbs. of Kelp on Display Shown Above.  Kelp is a Kind of Seawood, Sparta Said.  But Not All Seaweed is Kelp.

Jars of Seawood from Spartan Sea Farms, Freeport, for Sale Today at GMRI Expo for $10. Each.

Josh Rogers, Founder of Seaweed Week and Owner of Heritage Seawood, 61 India Street, on the East End of Portland  at the  Gulf of Maine Research Institute Expo This Afternoon.

A Group Photo  of the Thirty Vendors who Participated in the 6th Annual Seaweed Week at the Gulf of Maine Research Expo, 350 Commercial Street, Portland, Today.

“There were probably a thousand people in here this afternoon,” said Josh Rogers, late this afternoon.  Rogers was standing on the spacious ground floor of the Gulf  of Maine Research Institute (GMRI), where thirty vendors had been installed for the  GMRI Expo –  first-time  participants in the 6th Annual Maine Seaweed Week,

It was time for Seaweed Week to expand so leaders decided to approach GMRI to see if it was interested in hosting an event.  “They were,” said Rogers, the founder of Seaweed Week and the owner of Heritage Seaweed, 61 India Street in the east end of Portland. “GMRI is a logical place to expand because of its location on the Portland waterfront.’

One of the 30 vendors participating in the first GMRI Expo was Ken Sparta, who with his son Leo, are the owners of Spartan Sea Farms, Freeport.  Uppermost on his mind was the May 1st Freeport afternoon hearing on his application to lease from the state of Maine 8 1/2 acres,  The passage of his application will permit Ken to expand his business beyond his current limited purpose aquaculture license that permits him to work on a smaller space; 1,200 square feet.  Ken wants to expand his business and make it permanent.  That way, he can hire more people and offer them benefits that he currently is unable to do.

The waterfront has long been an influence on Ken’s life.  His father was  a marine leader in the former Democratic Governor Ken Curtis’ administration.  At one time, Ken wanted to be a marine engineer.  He also attended the US Naval Academy before moving on to pursue other interests.

Back in 2018, Ken, a certified diver, was hired to dive at Madeline Point Oyster Farm, Yarmouth.  He saw first hand how much cleaner the water was around the oysters he saw.  “Each oyster filters 50 gallons of water a day,” Ken said.  He was hooked.

Meanwhle, sale of Ken’s  jarred seaweed were brisk.  He and Nicole Potter sold the contents of 3 l/2 cases – which amounted to 30 jars of seaweed at $10. per jar.

With the success of the 6th Annual Seawood Week Expo at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, Josh Rogers said in part:  “We hope to expand this event next year.  Each year we try to do something different.  Next year will be no exception.”

Seaweed Week, a statewide event, runs from April 19 – April 28, 2024.

For more information on the background of this year’s 6th Annual Seaweed Week and the Expansion to include GMRI, please visit post herein dated April 10, 2024.


4 thoughts on “‘GMRI’ Kicks Off Seaweed Week With Thirty Vendors at Waterfront Expo

  1. The benefits from consuming kelp are numerous. As with any food, it should be eaten in moderation as it is high in iodine and can be problematic for the thyroid.

  2. Thanks so much for shining a light on Seaweed Saturday and Seaweed Week. Always nice to chat with you and appreciate your voice in the community.

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