How Iain got into producing Dulse Seaweed and why he chose this particular product
During his childhood, Iain’s mother taught him to harvest seaweed as she had learned to during the Second World War when it was used to produce camouflage netting.
A redundancy package over 7 years ago left Iain with two options: leave his home on the Isle of Bute to look for work elsewhere, or find a way to earn a living on his native Isle. Noticing the abundance of seaweed growing around the island which people were no longer harvesting, and how popular Japanese imports of dried seaweeds were becoming, he hit upon the idea of selling these local varieties commercially within the UK and set about teaching himself how to build a website. Now 7 years on, it is still a small-scale operation which operates around the seasons and tides. Often he is alone harvesting the seaweeds with a knife and bucket, but if the weather is looking clear he has a few local lads he can call upon for some extra pairs of hands. Nevertheless his seaweed has been showcased on the menus of some top UK restaurants, such as Claridges, the Berkley, and the Kitchin, and demand for his products is slowly growing as people realise the health benefits of consuming seaweeds.
The challenges that Iain is facing producing Dulse Seaweed
Iain directs a lot of his time and resources to ensure that his products comply with the rigorous health and safety standards, which involves shoreline control and regularly testing and monitoring the water quality. Food hygiene and environmental health are his top priorities, as well as ensuring that his production methods are sustainable to allow the Dulse harvests to respawn each year. People’s natural aversion to slimy things which come from the sea is also a stumbling block for introducing seaweeds to the mainstream commercial market.
Products that Iain is offering
Alongside Dulse seaweed, which he sells in its raw fresh form, he also sells seaweeds in dry and milled forms. His most popular product is Brown Kelp which is even more nutritious and packed with high levels of trace elements which the body needs to grow and function properly.
He sells a wide variety of seaweeds including Bladderwrack, Sea Lettuce, and Carrageen. Some of these can even be used for a rejuvenating spa bath.
Iain’s favourite Dulse recipes
Iain believes that Dulse is best eaten fresh from the shore, or cured in its own salts by leaving it out to dry, just as the older generation of the Isle of Bute used to when they were young children. Unfortunately, food hygiene standards mean that he has to sell fresh Dulse for cooking purposes only.
Address: Just Seaweed, 25 Roslin Crescent, Rothesay, Isle of Bute, Scotland, PA20 9AG
>The Scotsman February 2011: http://www.scotsman.com/news/seaweed-cuisine-on-crest-of-a-wave-1-1493539
>The Telegraph May 2011: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink/8509963/Eating-seaweed-Shore-to-be-tasty.html