After graduating from Bangor University, where we had fallen in love with each other and the island of Anglesey, we started looking for ways that would allow us to continue to live and work in this area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Having supplemented our meagre student grants by growing oysters, our small oyster enterprise evolved into a wholesale fish and game business which we then ran for 12 years. We realised people were as fascinated by the fish in the sea as the fish on their plate, so in 1983, we set up The Sea Zoo which ended up becoming Wales’ largest aquarium.
When the seasonality of both these businesses became a serious problem, we sat down to brainstorm ideas of what we could do to make money in the winter months. After coming up with (and discarding) brilliant ideas such as selling solid sandcastles and bottles of coloured sand, we hit upon the idea of making sea salt.
We were already paying the Queen for the seawater as she owns the coastline and charges rent for our pipeline to it. We also knew the sea around the island was exceptionally clean as the notoriously fussy seahorses at The Sea Zoo bred happily in it. Seahorses are very picky about the water in which they live and breed so we had a feeling that these briny waters had the potential to produce the world’s finest sea salt.
The Sea Salt
Sea salt was made on the island of Anglesey up until the late eighteenth century when it was halted after makers were fined for adulterating the sea brine with Cheshire rock salt. Today, we have resurrected this age-old craft by combining traditional hand harvesting with brand new technology to produce the crunchy white flakes of Halen Môn. Unlike our predecessors, however, we don’t add anything.
Using pure charcoal-filtered seawater drawn from the Menai Strait around Anglesey, before the water even reaches our Salt Cote, it has already passed through two natural filters: a mussel bed and a sandbank.
Every part of the sea salt making process is quality controlled to the highest standards so it meets with our strict training, hygiene and health and safety regulations. While the majority of our sea salt is kept pure and simple before being packed, some of it is then blended with a range of the finest ingredients to make our seasoned range or kiln-smoked on-site to create our own bespoke blends.
Our process is unique and has been legally recognised as such under EU law. We are proud to be the UK’s 60th Protected Food Name, are British Retail Consortium (BRC) certified and are one of the few sea salt producers in the country to have qualified for Certified Product Status from the Soil Association. Every pack of sea salt is marked with the harvest date and the salt maker’s initials,so you know that your sea salt was packed by a real person and not some robotic arm in a factory. You can put a face to the initials of who packed your salt by clicking here.
In 1997, we left a saucepan of seawater to boil on the Aga in our family kitchen and as the salt crystals started to form, we knew we’d struck culinary gold.