2013 September - Archive
The Source of Achill island Sea Salt
“We started with pots and buckets”, said Marjorie O’Malley when I asked her how her business got started.
It sounds like a typical tale from one of our country’s wonderful cottage industries, but this is exactly how this wonderful business is still being run today.
What inspires a family on Achill Island to start a business producing sea salt? A good documentary, a book, a spot of googling, and heap of enthusiasm during a typical Irish winter – wonderful!
When Kieran and Marjorie’s interest in sea salt was sparked from a BBC documentary they looked out their window unto the wild Atlantic seashore and thought, ‘sure why don’t we try that here’.
As it turned out the idea was not novel to the area, as the couple discovered there was a salt factory in operation on the island in the 1820’s . Although its history has been lost down through the years, the couple have located maps that cleary mark out that a substantial salt business was once in operation on the island.
Living right on the coast the O’Malley’s were quick getting to work researching methods for sea salt production, and in no time were hauling buckets of sea water up the road and into their family kitchen.
Late nights boiling, drying and burning pots taught them how the whole process worked, and eventually to producing their first batches.
It quickly became a realisation that people may be interested in buying the locally produced salt. It didn’t take long for word to get out about the salt makers on the island, and in turn orders started coming in from local restaurants and shops.
Only making their first sales in June, Achill Sea Salt is already well on its way to success with demand increasing on a weekly basis. With a little help the island based company is planning to expand its weekly output to allow it to supply more businesses.
While Marjorie tells us that it all kind of happened by chance, it’s clear to see why the demand was so sudden. This is a completely natural Irish product, produced in a traditional manner on a small scale. This is what people want to support today, and this is where quality comes from.
While the company is not ready for a full-scale industrial setup just yet, the increase in business is enough to justify taking the operation out of the kitchen.
The future is very bright for Achill Sea Salt. We love their product; it’s local, natural, and made with love. This is how we cook at Kai, and suppliers like these are what allow us together to bring quality and flavor to our customers each and every day.
If you’re interested in getting your hands on some of their product drop in and ask us. It’s currently available in a small number of shops, but the greater the demand the greater the supply. So let’s help this island family get to every artisan store in the country
At the prestigious Food and Wine restaurant of the year awards 2013, it was announced that Galway’s own Kai Café and restaurant was awarded with the title of best restaurant in Connaught.
The announcement was made at a gala luncheon at the 4 Seasons in Dublin on Sunday afternoon, and we were only delighted!
Not only did we win the notable award, but our head chef and owner Jessica Murphy also received a commendation for her work running the kitchen at Kai.
Having previously scooped best chef in Connaught at the same awards, this is yet another plague for us to hang on our walls in a very short period of time.
In total 21 awards were presented at the ceremony, which was attended by over 400 people representing the restaurant industry from all over Ireland. The awards presented included Best Restaurant and Chef Awards for the four provinces and Dublin.
The Food and Wine awards are highly recognized in the food industry, with all awards voted on by a panel of judges from all over Ireland.
In operation for just over two years, Kai continues to attract national and international critique.
We’d like to thank all our customers, suppliers, and staff for getting us here. It’s been a very special time, and we’re going to keep doing it!
This is the time of year when those luscious black berries appear on bushes along the roadsides of rural Ireland. Blackberries stir childhood memories with most of us, reminding us that the summer is gone and schooldays have come around again.
Having had such a great summer this year the berries are big, ripe and juicey – just the way we like them. There was nothing more satisfying than leaning over the gigantic bushes as a child and getting stung by nettles just to pick the juciest berry on the bush. The sting never mattered as the prize was well worth it.
Irish mammies have lots of blackberry jam recipes for spongecakes, pavlovas, and summer tarts, however it’s always been a good idea to preserve some of your crop to ensure the memory of summer fades slowly. Try not to use shop bought berries as it’s just not as satisfying.
Here’s a simple Blackberry recipe that will have you tasting the summer fruits long into winter.
8 cups blackberries (2 lbs or 1 kg)
1/2 cup water
1/4 lemon juice
4 cups granulated sugar
In a large pot add the blackberries, water and lemon juice and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
Add the sugar slowly, constantly stirring until the sugar dissolves. Once the sugar is dissolved reduce the temperature to a medium heat until the liquid thickens. This can take up to 15 minutes.
To test if it’s set put a small spoonful of jam on a cold plate(from the freezer), if it wrinkles – you’re good to go!
Get the jam jars out and spoon the jam in.
Make sure to have a nice scone ready to enjoy the fruits of your labour. There’s nothing nicer than trying the fresdhly made jam straight out of the pot!
Filled Under : Recipes