Seaweeders are putting Cornish Business on the Map
The Cornish Seaweed Company; Cornwall’s first edible seaweed harvesters have repeatedly put Cornwall on the map
With clear waters and golden sands, Cornwall has always been a top holiday destination; revered for its fresh fish and fine dining. Something of a treasure for the county, The Cornish Seaweed Company have had reporters visiting from Sky Magazine, Vice, The Guardian, The Telegraph and many more national food magazines. 2015, they say, is the year of seaweed.
Coming from environmental backgrounds, the co-founders both had experience of testing waters, and witnessing the effects of pollution on waters overseas. Two years ago they visited a seaweed harvesting plant in Ireland to gather secrets of cutting, natural drying and processing seaweed. Shortly after, they were granted a license to harvest seaweed from the county’s Crown Estate to reap the superfood from the stunning Lizard peninsula. Braving all weather conditions to collect their seaweed before cleaning and drying it in a traditional way, the local entrepreneurs have honed their methods over three years of research.
Currently having a brief hiatus over winter, to allow the plants to absorb the lowered light, as soon as spring starts they’ll be cutting around 1,500kg of different seaweeds, such as kombu, dulse, sea spaghetti and sea greens per month. Following three television appearances to date, the company have seen a huge increase in demand pertaining to public interest in health and detox diets.
Although seaweed has been included in the human diet for centuries; from the Inuit in Alaska to the Okinawans in South Japan, its consumption in the UK has been limited to Celtic extremities such as Wales and Scotland. Until recently. Around 8 million tonnes is harvested within the UK but much of it is shipped abroad. However, with seaweed sausages, salami, crisps, thins, chocolate and fudge on the menu, the green (and red and brown) stuff is getting into homes more frequently.
The Cornish Seaweed Company differ from other foragers because their commitment to lab-testing the waters is integral to their ethos. A recent case of norovirus in overseas seaweed exemplifies the importance of this element. Co-founder and developer, Tim Van Berkel commented, “When you consider the extreme environment that sea plants have adapted and survived in: the harsh environment with instability, pounding waves, desecration, abrupt changes in salinity and temperature, they’ve developed specialized chemical defense mechanisms, so it’s not surprising that they are so potent at providing care for our immune system.” But only when they are sourced in clean seas.
Operating on Cornwall’s most southerly peninsula, The Cornish Seaweed Company are a sustainable business who are getting their message right and consistently drawing press attention to Cornwall.