‘In one drop of water are found all the secrets of the ocean’ – Kahlil Gibran
At the Cornish Seaweed Company we have been harvesting seaweed since 2012. Born out of a love for life and the ocean, a belief in healthy and tasty food, we are a rapidly growing enterprise forming a team of over 10 dedicated seaweeders.
With the clean and wild Cornish coast as our playground, we scour its rocky shores in search for the highest quality seaweeds. All of which are harvested, washed, dried and packaged by hand, ensuring the highest quality using artisanal practices.
Our aim is to provide you with an honest superfood; sustainably harvested, local, edible seaweeds and to introduce these as an alternative food source that is healthy, nutritional, tasty and good for the environment. Did you know that you do not need to use pesticides, fresh water, or fertiliser to grow seaweeds, which are among the most productive plants in the world?
It is important to acknowledge the importance of seaweeds for marine life and we need to balance this with its use by humans. Our harvest methods reflect this: We only take a part of each seaweed, giving it a haircut instead of taking the whole plant. This allows it to grow back, causes minimum disruption to the ecosystem and allows us to come back for more a next time! And did you know that our seaweed farm is the equivalent of an artificial reef, providing habitat, shelter and food for many different sea creatures, including commercial fish? Our dedication to the environment was recognised in 2017 when we received the Cornish Sustainability Awards for best contribution to a sustainable food economy.
We really hope and believe that seaweed becomes part of everyone’s diet and that we come to recognize it for what it is. A nutritional and environmental superfood!
Caro has got years of worldwide working and travelling under her belt. From teaching English in Nepal and snowboarding in Chile and Canada, to sailing tall ships from Asia to Antarctica and guiding white water rafting trips.
After finishing a degree in Renewable Energy Engineering with first class at Exeter Uni she worked with remote and marginalised communities to install renewable energy systems in Indonesian Borneo, Peru and the Philippines for institutions such as Engineers without Borders and Wind Aid.
Returning to Cornwall after a severe motor accident, a BBC 4 program put her on the path of seaweed. Being an avid surfer, ocean lover, and good food lover, establishing The Cornish Seaweed Company was the most natural thing to do.
A passion for nature, wild places and different cultures made Tim emerge from his birth place in below-sea-level Holland to explore some of the more remote places and people on the planet.
To pursue his fascination with wildlife and everything that grew around him, he worked a way through three universities to end up with an MSc in Conservation & Biodiversity from Exeter. While research led him to the threatened lions of West Africa’s savannah and the plain dwelling mongooses of Uganda, his mind was set on rainforests. Through expeditions in Honduras, Borneo, Peru and Bolivia he set up a rainforest conservation charity and to this date is involved with ecological and conservation research.
The pull of the ocean never faded however, and Cornwall’s clear oceans, surf lined beaches and agreeable climate meant that base is here. If that can be combined with days of snorkelling and foraging for seaweed, well, let it be.
After 14 yrs working internationally in the dive industry and a few wet years of landscaping in Cornwall, Joe now manages our harvesting team since 2015. Through the season he can be found out on the boat harvesting , washing or drying seaweed. He does not miss the long winters of flaking seaweed, that’s for sure.
Born and bred in Cornwall, Jen has years of experience working in The Scilly Isles. She came to join us right back in 2014 and is a valuable member of our core team. She has been the main point of contact for our customers and manages the majority of the orders.
Binky has spent the majority of her life traveling and living in vans and cabins. She came to join us in 2015 and works alongside Jen packing our seaweeds. She enjoys a cheese and onion toasted sandwich at lunch time and goes on a lot of bargain holidays which everyone is a little envious of.
Quality & Sustainability
A high quality product and sustainability, in our eyes one does not come without the other. These two core business values guide us forward and help us produce the highest quality seaweeds, now and into the future.
It starts with a licence
We are fully licenced to harvest seaweed by Cornwall Council and the Crown Estate. The qualifying principle for a licence is sustainability and approval from Natural England.
Because we were among the first to start a seaweed business in England, there was a need to establish the Code of Conduct for Seaweed Harvesting, which Natural England established with our collaboration. The Code lays out harvesting guidelines to ensure harvesting is carried out without significantly impacting the ecosystem.
Code of Conduct examples
- Seaweed can only be harvested by hand
- Only a part of each individual plant can be cut, above the point of growth to allow regrowth
- Other wildlife should not be disturbed
- Harvest seaweeds during the active growth season to allow for quicker recovery
- Rotate harvesting areas to allow ample time for recovery. Harvested areas should be left for up to several years, depending on the species, before harvesting again.
We have been very lucky to have our quality and sustainability efforts recognised.
In 2015 we were named Cornish Business of the Year and the following year we were proud to receive the Cornwall Sustainability Award for Best Contribution to a Sustainable Food Economy.
Our Sustainability Pledge
As seaweed harvesters we have a responsibility to look after our marine environment. We are committed to protecting our valuable marine resources, and this means harvesting in a sustainable and ethical manner, avoiding damage to ecosystems and coastal communities. To this end we have gone organic and become Soil Association licensees and adhere to the MSC environmental standards for sustainable harvesting and farming of seaweeds. These two actions ensure and enforce sustainable and responsible seaweed harvesting, with seaweed only harvested from the cleanest and highest quality waters. We are committed to adhere to the following principles:
Principle 1: Sustainable wild populations
We harvest seaweed in a manner that maintains the productive capacity of the wild seaweed populations and their sustainable, long-term use.
Principle 2: Environmental impacts
Our harvesting activities allow for the maintenance of the structure, productivity, function and diversity of the ecosystem (including habitat and associated dependent and ecologically related species) on which the activity depends.
Principle 3: Effective management
Our harvesting activities have an effective management system in place that respects local, national and international laws and standards and incorporates institutional and operational frameworks that require use of the resource to be environmentally sustainable and socially responsible.
Principle 4: Social responsibility
We harvest seaweeds in a socially responsible manner.
Principle 5: Community relations and interaction
We harvest seaweeds in a manner that minimizes impacts on other nearby farms, activities and communities.
We are fortunate to be supported by some amazing Cornish brands and they deserve a mention: Fourth Element is keeping us warm in the cold Cornish waters by providing us with their top of the range Proteus dive wetsuits while Finisterre is helping us stay warm and dry on land and in the waves.
A special thanks to the folk at the School for Social Entrepreneurs who provided us with grant funding in our early stages. We cannot forget Roskilly’s Farm either, who have been behind us from the start.