AUGUSTA, Maine — Five small Maine businesses that offer value-added food products are sharing a half-million-dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. One to market organic mushrooms in compostable packaging. Another is expanding the market for precooked and blast-frozen pocket meals.
Peter Arnold, with Maine Fresh Sea Farms in Bristol, says much of his grant money will be used to learn more about fresh seaweed, which he says is an unfilled niche.
"What its shelf life is, how long it will last in the stores, what it's like when it gets to the customers and then another part will be aimed at how do we utilize the seaweed that we can't use fresh to dry so that we can have access to it over time," Arnold says.
USDA Rural Development state director Virginia Manual says the five Maine companies receiving grants were among 247 businesses chosen nationwide.