An industry borne from its surrounds
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