05 November 2014
The Cornish Seaweed Company; Cornwall’s first edible seaweed harvesters tested the waters and found the best conditions for optimum health lay in the Cornish ocean bed
With its clear and uncluttered waters, Cornwall has often been referred to as a surfer’s haven. Recently, local company The Cornish Seaweed Company have seen Sky News come and visit to investigate their edible seaweed products. Founders of the company Caro Warwick-Evans and Tim van Berkel both had history of working in the environmental sector, they decided to team up and get the UK eating our natural resources.
Having experience of testing waters, and witnessing the effects of pollution on waters overseas; two years ago they were granted a license to harvest seaweed from the county’s Crown Estate to reap the superfood from the stunning Lizard peninsula. The company brave all weather conditions to collect their seaweed before cleaning and drying it in a traditional way, using a unique method they have honed over their two years of research.
Currently cutting around 1,000kg of different seaweed, such as dulse, laver, sea spaghetti and sea greens per month, the company have been in talks with some exciting companies to offer collaborations and reintroduce the superfood to UK diets.
It’s no great secret that seaweed has been included in the human diet for centuries; from the Inuit in Alaska to the Okinawans in South Japan, it forms an essential part of many health conscious individuals’ diets worldwide. Although as an island, the UK has expansive coastlines, hardly any of the 8 million tons of seaweed harvested worldwide is consumed within the country.
Many waters further afield have dangerous levels of toxins or radiation within them. Essentially, seaweed’s job is to cleanse toxins from the seas. Effectively, it performs the same detoxification on the body; making it an ultimate health food. What really sets The Cornish Seaweed Company apart from other foragers is their commitment to ensuring all seaweeds are tested in labs; offering the highest quality sea vegetables.
Co-founder and developer, Tim van Berkel said “For me to try and explain all of the benefits of each seaweed to you would take many days, but all varieties are packed with anti-oxidants and have huge nutritional values, whilst boosting the body’s calcium, iron and nutrient intake.”
The company have seen local chefs, such as the Head Chef of Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Cornwall; Andy Appleton, Nathan Outlaw, and those further away in London like Raymond Blanc, begin to introduce immune boosting seaweed to their menus.
As the winter is heralded in, with the darker nights recently brought about by the clock change; also begins ‘flu season’. Thankfully, the extensive health benefits of seaweed help to maintain a strong immune system: keeping such illness at bay. Caro said, “When you consider the extreme environment that sea plants have adapted and survived in, it’s not surprising that they are so potent at providing care for our immune system.”
The Cornish Seaweed Company website contains a wealth of sweet and savory recipes, and a valuable breakdown of the nutritional information attributed to each species on sale, and many photos of the stunning Cornish coastline, where the seaweed is collected, dried and processed.
To find out more about the health benefits of seaweed, please visit http://cornishseaweed.co.uk/