Tide to Table Profiles: Bangs Island Mussels
Bangs Island Mussels is a mussel and kelp farm located in Portland, Maine.
Bangs Island Mussels raises shellfish and seaweed in Maine’s Casco Bay, using a space-efficient process called rope growing. Through this method, the farm is able to use the entire water column and grow a large amount of seafood in a relatively small area. Both mussels and kelp provide ecosystem benefits by removing excess nutrients from the water as they grow.
Building Strong Mussels
This family-owned farm grows mussels using a series of rafts with long “dropper” ropes that dip into the water. Wild juvenile mussel seeds swim for their first weeks of life, after which they attach themselves to the droppers. Within this habitat, the shellfish can safely grow and filter feed until large enough to be harvested.
Superfoods of the Sea
Both mussels and kelp have high nutritional values that can help improve your diet. For instance, a four-ounce serving of mussels contains 27 grams of protein with less than half the fat of a four-ounce serving of steak! Kelp is rich in vitamins and minerals, and is a good source of iodine. It’s a versatile food that can be cooked into soups and stews, served raw in salads, or powdered for easy use as a seasoning or smoothie ingredient.
Aside from raising sustainable crops, Bangs Island Mussels takes additional steps to minimize environmental impact. Their fleet runs on biodiesel when possible, and mussels are sold in biodegradable bags.
Recipe: Beer Steamed Mussels
- 2 pounds mussels in shells
- 1 bottle beer (12 ounces)
- 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
- 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon olive oil for sauteing
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes
- Crusty bread for serving
- Rinse mussels under cold running water, and remove any beards (hairy clumps) you see around the shell. If any mussels stay open and do not close, they are dead. Be sure to throw any dead mussels away.
- In a saute pan, heat olive oil. Add the onion, garlic, and optional red pepper flakes, then saute for a couple of minutes.
- Add the beer and mussels to the pan. Cover and reduce heat to medium. Simmer for about 5 minutes until the mussels start to open. Turn off the heat, add the butter and parsley, then stir well. The key is to open the mussels without overcooking.
To learn more about Bangs Island Mussels, visit their website.
Sustainable Seafood from Tide to Table
The Tide to Table series profiles members of the aquaculture community, who provide valuable jobs and increase access to fresh, sustainably sourced American seafood. Aquaculture is about more than seafood production. It also promotes ecosystem stewardship, coastal communities, and economic opportunities.