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      News — Maine island life

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      Got Umami?

      Got Umami?

      There’s sweet, salty, bitter, sour and umami.  Umami is the earthy robust taste sensation that became official in 2000.  Identified in 1909 by Japanese chemist, Kikunae Ikeda, the translation means roughly “delicious taste”.  It’s a meaty, savory, deep taste and when you add umami to your cooking you add a robust depth.

      Umami is the newest taste sensation.


      Our umami taste begins with glutamate, which is an amino acid.  Seaweeds are very high in glutamate as well as fermented sauces like soy, miso and worcestershire.  Aging also brings out umami.   Aged cheeses, cured meats including bacon and prosciutto will bring a pop of flavor to whatever you are cooking.  The cool thing is you don’t need a lot of an umami rich ingredient to add complexity to whatever you are preparing.

      Seaweeds are one of the best ways to get umami into your diet.  Maine produces all kinds of seaweeds from fresh to frozen to dried.  Maine is actually number one in the country for seaweed production and our seaweeds are valued worldwide for their quality and flavor.  It’s our cold, mineral rich waters that make our seaweeds so sought after.

      One cold July day out on Gotts Island with the wood stove going we made a soup with a base of local seaweed.  It was simple, we just put a bunch of seaweed in our stockpot and fired up the wood stove.  After a few hours, we strained the broth and added some root vegetables.  The soup was thick, rich and yummy.  Just what we needed on a cold summer day.

      If you want to try a little Umami flavor in your everyday cooking I recommend Dulse flakes.  Dulse is a slightly purple seaweed full of minerals, vitamins and those elusive trace elements.  The flakes resemble coarsely ground black pepper and you can simply sprinkle on whatever you want.  It will enhance pasta, rice and potato dishes and honestly no one will suspect you have boosted both nutrition and flavor.

      Dulse flakes resemble coarsly ground black pepper and are delicious on just about everything.

      I know this is going to sound a little radical but I love adding seaweeds, especially dulse flakes to anything I am baking but especially chocolate.  I like to make brownies from scratch but last spring after volunteering brownies for a meeting I realized I just didn’t have time.  I bought a mix and livened it up with the addition of a tablespoon of dulse flakes soaked in dark rum.  If it sounds a bit weird think of all the gourmet chocolate bars with sea salt added.  Trust me, it’s divine.  

      Seaweed adds depth to chocolate recipes.

      If you want to learn more about umami and seaweeds here are some great websites

      Celebrating Acadia

      Celebrating Acadia

      It’s the 100th anniversary of Acadia National Park and this is something to celebrate.   One hundred years ago, the deeds to the land that is now Acadia were given to President Woodrow Wilson.   Like all our parks, Acadia has an interesting history, and Acadia is our only national park to begin with donations from individual families donating parcels of land.  The island of Mt Desert was populated by wealthy landowners who summered in “cottages”.  These cottages were large mansions with plenty of room for family, guests and servants.  These summer visitors were know as “summercators” or “rusticators”.  Most of the original families have last names Americans are familiar with including Rockefeller, Morgan, Ford and Vanderbilt.

      Celebrating Acadia National Park

      Living near a national park is a combination of joy, wonder and frustration.  I talked with Carly on the phone yesterday and she planned on making shampoo bars except she was out of rubber gloves.  She’d spent the day before buying groceries in Bar Harbor and parking was such an issue she couldn’t go back.  The last time I drove thru Bar Harbor I was struck by the beauty of the mountains in the distance and then freaked about cars and people.  That’s the frustrating bit about living in a totally breathtaking place.

      And then there is the beauty.  Most people think of Maine as summer, beaches, lobsters and blueberries.  Maine is stunning during the short but oh so sweet summer months.  But Maine, and Acadia is beautiful all year round.  In fact, I enjoy fall the best.  Summer is such a busy season and you are always figuring out alternative routes and stressing about parking.  How much extra time do you need to allow to catch your boat?  You can never get that question answered correctly.

      Something happens in the fall with the light.  Out on Gotts Island the days become magical in September and sunny October days.  Perhaps it’s the shortness and the crisp wind but wandering the roads, lobster boats in the horizon is one of my life’s simple pleasures.

      Acadia National Park is 100

      At Dulse and Rugosa, this island beauty, our sense of wonder and joy of place is reflected in our products.  When you open a jar of Dulse & Rugosa you are transported to a summer day in Maine.

      Our Maine Island Home

      Our Maine Island Home

      Dulse & Rugosa is a mother and daughter business with our feet firmly planted on a small Maine island.   In fact, Carly was just about born on remote Gotts Island thirty years ago.  Back in those days- this is before cell phones and internet our only way of communicating was a CB radio with a link to the Camden Marine Operator.   Gotts is one of the super remote islands with no ferry, real cars (by that I mean inspected regularly) and no electricity except from the sun.  So, when it was near Carly's due date, we thought about the tides a lot!  In my experience, it is always low tide out on Gotts when you really need to get off.

      Maine island life has many challenges including the tide.

      We'd already decided on Carly's name- I knew she would be a girl.  She is named after our dear island neighbor, Carl.  When my contractions started we knew it was time to get off.  Wondering about the tide?  Low of course.  This meant we had to go around another island which was an extra 20 minutes.  We left at dawn and the sky was brilliant- one of the rare occasion I've seen the Aurora Borealis. The thought went through my mind to name her Aurora but she has always, even in my tummy been Carly.

      We had a few more adventures on the way to the midwife including our car overheating and needing to call for a tow.  We started at dawn but Carly wasn't born until six that evening.  I guess she wanted to wait until all the chaos had settled.  The next day, we headed back to the island.  Of course, it was low tide again and we had to land on an awkward beach.  A kind neighbor gave us a ride up the hill in his WWll jeep.

      Because Carly spent her early years roaming the fields, forest and shores of the island she has a deep love of place.  Dulse and Rugosa started with this love of place.

      Dulse & Rugosa is firmly rooted in Maine.

      Our mission reflects the experiences and joys of Maine island living.

      At Dulse & Rugosa our mission is to bring you nourishing and effective skincare made with botanicals harvested from our Maine island home.  From our farm, our island shores and the sea we gather hardy Maine plants with benefits to your skin, hair and scalp.  Our botanicals include four varieties of Maine seaweeds, hand harvested from our mineral rich waters.  Dulse & Rugosa, nourishing body and soul.

      Mud Season in Maine- Time for our Seaweed Rich Dog Shampoo

      Mud Season in Maine- Time for our Seaweed Rich Dog Shampoo

      Early spring is so lovely in Maine.  At night you can hear the peepers.  During the day, long muddy walks with your favorite pooch.

      Our dog shampoo is designed to be pet and owner friendly.

      Honestly, both our rescue dogs don't care for baths.  Tuffy, I can understand, she's not sure about water. But Saff?  That dog loves water.   She's famous for her "duck dive". That's when Saff sticks her entire head under the water.  Since Saff does the "duck dive" at the beach in sea water she should love our shampoo which is rich in Maine seaweed.  Our nourishing seaweed dog shampoo is great for itchy, irritated, dry patches.  

      Our dog shampoo is designed to be pet and owner friendly.

      We designed our dog shampoo bar so that you can easily wash your dog with one hand and with just one bar!!!  Use the Dog Shampoo Bar just as you would a bar of soap.  Run the bar once down your dog's back and then rub.  Dulse & Rugosa’s Dog Shampoo Bar makes lots of moisturizing lather that is packed full of nourishing oils to leave your dog's fur feeling and looking great.  We have also incorporated Neem Oil into our bar for its amazing insect fighting properties which will leave your pooch looking and smelling great!


       Our Dog Shampoo is lightly scented with pet friendly essential oils. 


      Rose hip and Oarweed Tea, Saponified Oils of Coconut, Rosehip infused Olive, Calendula infused Sweet Almond, Rosehip infused Castor, Neem, and Rosehip Oil, Essential Oils of Cypress, Cedarwood, Citronella, Lemongrass, Lavender,and Tea Tree.

      Exfoliate for Balance and Beauty

      Whenever I feel stressed, tired or overwhelmed I like to give myself the treat of a deep detoxing exfoliation.  Besides getting rid of dead skin, feeling super clean and refreshed taking the time to exfoliate helps restore my balance.

      Dulse and Rugosa scrubs contain nourishing Maine seaweed.

      I started using scrubs as a way to feel better after stressful events.  If I have a tough appointment or meeting I look forward to giving myself a gentle replenishing facial at the end of the day.  We originally designed our Island Face Scrub to help with breakouts.  But I discovered the gentle mix of Maine roses and seaweeds helps restore my balance. It might be because seaweeds contain trace minerals and vitamins that need to be replenished after a stressful event.  I think it also helps to take a few minutes devoted to myself.  We have a trial size Island Face Scrub for only $5.00 which used once a week will last for about a month- a little seaweed goes a long way!

      Dulse and Rugosa gentle seaweed rich face scrub.

      Traveling is another great time to add scrubs into your routine.  There is so much going on when you travel especially by plane.  When I'm off my regular routine I struggle with staying balanced.  I find it's easy for me to get dehydrated especially as it is hard to travel with my favorite Lavender tea.  Healthy eating can also be tricky.  By the time I get to my destination I feel downright yucky and a full body scrub is just what I need.  Our blend of hand harvested Maine seaweeds and lovely flower petals leave me feeling happy.

      Dulse and Rugosa's Gardner's Scrub has bits of our cleansing seaweed rich soap.


      Our scrubs are hand mixed with simple, effective ingredients.  Seaweed to help draw out toxins and keep your skin hydrated.  Salt or sugar to slough away dead skin and smooth rough patches and hand picked flower petals for beauty and scent.

      Dulse and Rugosa scrubs are hand mixed with Maine island grown flowers and seaweeds.


      If you haven't exfoliated in awhile, now is the time.  Celebrate the end of winter and the arrival of spring by detoxing and replenishing with one of our nourishing scrubs.