SEA salt production has returned to Tasmania’s East Coast after more than 180 years thanks to an ambitious husband-and-wife duo living their dream.
Chris Manson and Alice Laing made their first sale of gourmet salt flakes two months ago, manufactured using novel clean energy technology at Mayfield point, 17 kilometres south of Swansea.
‘‘This is such a natural way of making salt so you keep all the nutrients and trace minerals that are in the seawater,’’ Mrs Laing said.
‘‘We take saltwater from 3.5 per cent salinity to about 25 per cent salinity and that’s when it is so saturate the crystals will form.
‘‘Anyone can make salt ... whereas this is how you get the nice flakes that are great for cooking because you can feel what you are doing.
‘‘It is stronger salt than the standard table salt.’’
Mr Manson was born in Stanley and raised in Launceston from where he lived in London for 12 years and worked as a lawyer for the football association.
In the United Kingdom, he met Mrs Laing, who worked in sponsorship for the London Olympics and has a background in freelance catering, at the 2008 British music festival Glastonbury and married her in 2012.
The couple arrived in October last year and established Tasman Sea Salt – fulfilling a dual goal.
‘‘We are still refining the process to get productivity up now ... as we have had some really good responses from people buying it,’’ Mr Manson said.
‘‘The water here turns out to be very good for it, it is very clean and nutrient rich.
‘‘At the moment we are producing about 200 kilos a batch ... [and] by year five, we hope to be producing about 124 tonnes a year.
‘‘The crystallising takes about 24 hours and two to three days to do a batch with crystallising and drying it.
‘‘We are only selling in Tasmania at the moment and are looking to move into the mainland market by 2015 and eventually ship to international clients.
‘‘There has been interest from Singapore.’’
The pair extract water from the sea into a pump house, where it is filtered and transferred to an evaporator to be concentrated into a saturated salt-water solution.
‘‘It is one of those passions we have and when you can work in your area of passion it is pretty incredible,’’ Mr Manson said.
Tasman Sea Salt is being sold to chefs and is available in gourmet delis and IGA supermarkets.