Wild Tastes for Wild Palettes

Written by Rhonda Lee McIsaac

“My father and my grandmother took me out onto the water and land” she recalls with a big grin on her sunlit face says seaweed enthusiast and North Pacific Kelp Wild Foods owner Dafne Romero.


Memories of her Mexican father’s machete slice through a vibrant and slick seaweed strip while the unique scent of freshly harvested mushrooms waft from the hands of grandmother emerges like a fog on the Skidegate inlet for Dafne Romero. She recalls this treasured memory of the hot Mexican coast on a sunny, mild and damp Haida Gwaii day.

“My father and my grandmother took me out onto the water and land” she recalls with a big grin on her sunlit face says seaweed enthusiast and North Pacific Kelp Wild Foods owner Dafne Romero.

Her career has carried her from Montreal to the West Coast and she has sought to share her love of the ocean with a community that appreciates the delicacy, self-sufficiency, and small batch products that she creates from a branch of a seaweed frond here on Haida Gwaii.

As a diver she has experienced the oceans from coast to coast and has seen what changes have occurred within a short period of time, ‘even in as little as an overnight tide’ she explains. She shares this by explaining the lush and diverse richness of the seaweed beds and contrasts this with explaining the devastation of seaweed beds by what she describes as ‘intelligent ‘lawn mowers’ of the sea’; sea urchins, who harvest and consume the same delicacy that she is after.   

Her social concerns run as deep as the ocean floor and mountaintops that she has made her home in here on Haida Gwaii. The warming of the oceans has impacted the kelp forests of Haida Gwaii and thus has affected a source of food for humans and marine life which she is innately aware of.

Her commitment to the environment is evident by the constant grind she has put in since 2009 when she brought her products to the market places on island and off island for the first time.

With incremental growth, she continually plans for what’s next - like creating more sustainable products from the seaweed she collect. 

The fragility of the ecosystem is evident with each dive she does whether it’s from ravenous sea urchins slowly tackling the seaweed at low tides and riding the rising currents like a cowboy on a raging bull, a warming ocean, and the lack of imagination of foodies, and picky shoppers to see kelp as a great food source and alternative for pasta in certain dishes.

Dafne feels “that by specializing in a prolific sea vegetable with many applications” it will help change the plates and palettes of many people.  


She gives back to her chosen community by providing a service that is kind to the ecosystem that she harvests from, brings added value products to local store shelves, provides education to discerning shoppers and cooks looking for a unique and healthy source of vitamins and minerals that is sustainable.

With a grin she shares a favourite treatment for many- deep fried seaweed.

“It’s delicious” she says and it’s just one way to eat this healthy food source that has always given so much to her.

Try out some of the delicious and nutritious dried foods available from North Pacific Kelp Wild foods, and see for yourself exactly why so many folks swoon over Dafne's harvests far and wide.
These are wild tastes for wild palates!

This article was written by Rhonda Lee McIsaac and photographed by Jessica Fairweather.

Rhonda is an Anishnawbek writer, journalist, and artist based on Haida Gwaii. Her work focuses on local, national, indigenous, and environmental issues.

Jessica is a Haida Photographer who was born and raised on Haida Gwaii. She has been practicing photography for 9 years and began her business "Studio Simone A." In 2020. She has experience with product, portrait, lifestyle, maternity, weddings, and many other forms of photography. 

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