How the Dorset Sea Salt Company uses, and looks after, the sea as they bring back centuries-old traditions

Posted on by Lizzie Watson

Meandering majestically from Studland Bay in Dorset to Exmouth in East Devon, the Jurassic coast boasts of a hidden treasure that is as ancient as the fossils themselves.

The Dorset Sea Salt Company hand-harvests their sea salt from Britain’s purest waters along the Jurassic coastline, and this unique geology has meant that the sea salt has a distinct mineral profile, as well as being the cleanest, purest and freshest sea salt you could possibly wish to add to your diet.  

Dorset Sea Salt Co's founder, Jethro, discovered a passion for the centuries-old tradition of salt harvesting that began on the East Weares of Portland. As the flooded salt pans sit in the sunshine, the seawater evaporates to leave encrusted salt ready for collection.
The harvesting of this precious crystalline gift from our seas has been happening for thousands of years - since the Saxon times and possibly as far back as the Iron Age - but this industry had entirely vanished. 

To fill this void in the local industry Jethro wanted to marry both ancient and new production methods, yet this holds a great weight of responsibility  - to maintain quality using only the finest and cleanest sea water.
Dorset Sea Salt Co's aim is to preserve the traditional methods of this unique industry but at the same time shroud it in an ethical, and ecological ethos; every small batch harvested is part of the wider mission grounded in craftsmanship, locality, and quality. 

How does Dorset Sea Salt Co get their salt from the sea to your table?

Each small, treasure-like batch of sea salt created takes devotion, love and a great amount of care, and Jethro's vision to rekindle the human element of production proves that this care and attention ensures a top grade, gourmet sea salt. 

"Every stage of the production process is finely monitored and scrutinized, even though this can sometimes be slow, we believe perfection cannot be rushed or hurried." 

* Mineral-rich, super clean sea water is collected from the Atlantic by hand at Chesil Beach in Dorset.

* This water is passed through a triple filtering system, specifically developed and designed to preserve all the goodness from the Jurassic Coast.

* After producing a concentrated brine, sea salt flakes form in gently heated shallow trays.

      "This is a truly magical moment, and we will never cease to be amazed. The flakes perform an almost dance-like motion on the surface of the pan and then precipitate to the depths like a gentle snow drift."

      * Carefully, and expertly, the perfect moment is selected for the ice-like flakes to be hand harvested. This is a crucial moment in the salt making process.

      * The sea salt is then drained and dried in closely monitored drying rooms.

        "This is paramount in creating the perfect texture of the sea salt that offers an explosive but gentle crunch to our foods."

          To remove the chalky white residue, the salt is given a final rinse in a brine that makes the salt crystals shimmer and shine. The final result leaves you with a real sense that these are indeed precious jewels of the sea. 

          With the growth of industrialisation, reinstating a historic and culturally relevant business and reviving it locally, brings a sense of our bigger steps towards sustainability. 

          Jethro explained that they take the entire salt making process very seriously. There is a real sense of taking from the sea, but looking after it too. They use renewable energy to power their salt making process at every level, and their packaging is entirely plastic free

          An on-site wind turbine and solar PV panels ensure their carbon footprint is as low as they can possibly make it.

          The extracted Jurassic Coast seawater needs to maintain a constant temperature of approximately 70 degrees Celsius so two large, highly efficient Biomass boilers are used for this purpose. They are fuelled from locally responsibly sourced local wood chips, and as this is burned, the carbon dioxide emitted is the same amount that was absorbed over the years that the trees were growing.

          "This process is sustainable as long as new saplings are planted to grow in place of those trees that have been used for fuel. There are of course carbon emissions generated during cultivation, harvesting, processing, and transport of the fuel but as long as the fuel is locally sourced the emissions are estimated to be as much as 92% less than the emissions if we were to use fossil fuels."

          'Sea salt is born of the purest parents: the sun and the sea.'