How Products From the Ocean Can Set Your Plants in Motion – Neptune’s Harvest
Yankee Ingenuity – Good for the Environment, All Organic, Exactly What Your Plants Need
Ocean Crest Seafoods Inc., Neptune’s Harvest Fertilizer’s parent company, in Gloucester, MA, inadvertently ended up in the organic fertilizer business. A wholesale fish and seafood company established in 1965, Ocean Crest needed to dispose of the fish remains created after processing, called gurry. Gurry makes up 60% to 70% of the fish after it is filleted. Initially, a plant in Gloucester was taking the remains and turning them into pet food, but in the early 1980s, this company went out of business, leaving all the fish processors in Gloucester high and dry. “We were all paying fishermen to bring it back out to sea and dump it,” recalls Ann Molloy, director of sales and marketing. “This was expensive, wasteful, and bad for the environment.” So, Ocean Crest got together with researchers from the University of Massachusetts’ marine station and developed the process of turning the gurry into fertilizer, which allows the company to utilize 100% of the fish.
The products that this collaboration came up with are beneficial to the environment in more than one way. First of all, the products are organic. “To make our products, we use what nature has given us from the mineral-rich North Atlantic Ocean, which is nature’s perfect source for the nutrients plants and soil need,” says Ann. Secondly, the company uses every part of each fish and shellfish, so no waste is being dumped back into the ocean or sent to landfills; instead, the “waste” is used to help grow stronger, healthier plants. “We are constantly growing and innovating,” shares Ann. “The process we use did not exist before we developed it. We are currently looking into new and exciting products made from other seafood by-products.”
“The whole world use to be underwater. They found fish fossils on the top of Mount Everest. By adding products from the ocean back to the soil, it replenishes it and brings it back to life.”-Ann Molloy, director of sales and marketing, Neptune’s Harvest
Going Against the Current
Neptune’s Harvest Fish Fertilizer differs from Fish Emulsion in many ways. First off it does not stink like Fish Emulsion. This is because the Fish comes off the boats fresh, is filleted, ground, and stabilized the same day. Also, it is not cooked. It is cold processed, so the heat-sensitive nutrients are intact. Unlike Emulsions, it is made with several species of fish caught well offshore, in clean, cold waters.
Some of the benefits of the Fish Fertilizer include making very nutrient-dense food, sequestering carbon in the soil, increasing yield and quality. It raises the brix which makes the plants less susceptible to insect damage and disease and makes things taste better.
Making a Splash
Neptune’s Harvest has a cult-like following of giant pumpkin growers. In fact, the 2021 North American record for the largest pumpkin weighed a whomping 2350 lbs. and was grown in Minnesota using Neptune’s Harvest.
They also have a huge amount of cannabis and hemp growers, who use their products with great success.
On the Horizon
The company is always looking for other organic products to complement their line, which includes the Hydrolyzed Fish Fertilizer, Fish-Seaweed Blend, Seaweed Plant Food, Crab & Lobster Shell, Kelp Meal, Tomato & Veg, Rose & Flowering, Lawn Starter, and Turf Formula.
New for 2023 is a liquid Humate Concentrate. It’s like taking the very best from a compost pile and making it into a high-powered liquid concentrate. It’s great for helping improve poor soil and getting the plants through any stress.
The trend toward organic products has never been stronger. “We feel very strongly about sustainable development. Everything we do is toward that goal. We need to love our Mother Earth.” Ann says the overarching goal of Neptune’s Harvest is to produce organic fertilizers that work better than chemicals so more people are using organics and protecting our land and groundwater. “We sell to big farms, small home growers, and everyone in between,” she explains. The more chemical growers we can convert to organic, the better off our planet and all of us will be.
The company plans to continue to expand the market for its products and to keep developing new organic products that will help the environment. “About 5 years ago we bought a huge warehouse to continue our expansion,” shares Ann.
A final fun fact about Neptune’s Harvest is that it is a family-run business. Out of 45 employees, 16 are family.