Barnacle Knows a Thing or Two About Kelp

If you’re like me, you may not look at kelp – a type of large brown algae – and wonder what it tastes like. Luckily for us, the good folks at Barnacle Foods did! Born-and-raised Juneauites Matt and Lia founded Barnacle in 2017 after their bullwhip kelp-infused salsas garnered high praise at their local farmer’s market. Founded with the mission of showcasing just one of the many delicious flavors of Alaska, Barnacle also champions ocean conservation and sustainable harvesting.

Kelp farming is a relatively young industry, and Barnacle is leading the way in bringing it to its full potential. Through tireless advocacy and leading by example, Barnacle is ensuring kelp forests and the kelp farming industry remain healthy for generations of Alaskans to come. Barnacle also pays respect to the indigenous regions from which their ingredients are sourced – including Tlingit, Tsimshian, and Haida waters.

Here at Caputo’s, we share this sentiment. It is crucial to protect biodiversity and ensure our grandkids enjoy the same access to the amazing food and ecosystems our ancestors enjoyed.

Since their inception, Barnacle has since expanded into barbeque sauces, hot sauce, seasonings, chili crisp, and of course, salsa! Kelp imparts salty, savory, and vegetal notes to anything it’s used in. Even more, kelp is an incredibly sustainable product. With a growth rate of up to 18 inches a day, kelp forests require zero additional resources to grow. These sprawling forests also absorb carbon, helping to balance our ocean’s pH levels.

Harvesting a Kelp Forest

Here are a couple of our favorite products from Barnacle:

Kelp Chili Crisp: Barnacle teamed up with chef Taku of Outdoor Chef Life to bring this wonderfully complex chili crisp to our shelves. Using fried bullwhip kelp, onions, and chilis de arbol, this chili crisp and its accompanying spicy vegetable oil are the perfect addition to eggs any way you want to make them. While the chilis de arbol bring a smoky heat to the mix, the onions, garlic, and sugar add flavor and a surprising sweetness. Try it on pizza, pasta dishes, or – as Barnacle suggests – on top of donuts!

Bullwhip Kelp Hot Sauce: The product that introduced me to Barnacle. This hot sauce blew me away with its unbelievable umami flavor. The piri piri pepper-derived heat balances effortlessly with the briny flavors of bullwhip kelp, creating a deviously addictive hot sauce that pairs well with just about anything! Breakfast burritos, eggs, grilled veggies and much more can be elevated in no time with a few dashes of this hot sauce.

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