“It Must’ve Been Something We Ate” (sprinkled?) is Coast Culinary Collective spotlighting new start-ups, unsung heroes and those flying under the radar in our local food and drink community. This next focus fits in that file jacket.
“Salty on the COAST” came about in response to Covid 19 as an emergency plan. Creator Ana Pierron wasn’t sure what future lay ahead in her day job and thought she needed a contingency plan. Her fears never materialized but what did was the realization she really enjoys producing sea salt. And Coast Culinary Collective is grateful for that as it’s HARD WORK. After several communications back and forth, Ana and I finally had the opportunity to chat in person at a farmer’s market this past weekend. I have to say that conversation left me a bit mind boggled once I learned her process.
Ana begins by sourcing sea water from a few different spots along the local Coast; Bonniebrook, Sargeant Bay and Henderson Beach. She only does this at high tide as the water is at it’s cleanest during that time. She fills 20 gallon jugs and lugs them back to her car and then brings them back to her kitchen. This is where the process begins. The water is partially reduced and then charcoal filtered 3 times to remove any ocean debris. Once the remaining water has evaporated, the salt is then baked in the oven at the lowest heat setting until it’s completion as crystal form. About 45min. All told, the process takes approximately 5 hours per batch from 20 litres of sea water. That narrows down to 3/4lb or 8 x 45g packs. I’d call that intensive.
A Brief History of Salt
Courtesy of Saltworks
As far back as 6050 BC, salt has been an important and integral part of the world’s history, as it has been interwoven into countless civilizations. Used as a part of Egyptian religious offerings and valuable trade between the Phoenicians and their Mediterranean empire, salt and history have been inextricably intertwined for millennia, with great importance placed on salt by many different cultures. Even today, the history of salt touches our daily lives. The word “salary” was derived from the word “salt.” Salt was highly valued and its production was legally restricted in ancient times, so it was historically used as a method of trade and currency. The word “salad” also originated from “salt,” and began with the early Romans salting their leafy greens and vegetables.
Salty on the Coast has just acquired some of the equipment from a previous salt producer here, the Sunshine Coast Salt Co. Plans are in the works to up production once a few production obstacles have been met.
Currently, Salty is producing 3 small batch offerings, all from specific sites along the Coast. With production still being limited, the places to source these are limited to on-line ordering, potentially local vendors and at the Persephone Farmers Market on Sundays. Clearly the interest and support are there as they’re selling out at the market each weekend.