Michelle Jones recently discovered a delicious new seasoning close to home. It’s incredible that in a country surrounded by sea that New Zealanders, from home cooks to restaurant chefs, need to reach for imported sea salt.
One Sunday morning Greg Beattie from Hauraki Salt Company was at a farmers' market watching a chef showcase fresh local produce. Surprised to see the chef season dishes with sea salt from England, Greg caught himself wondering... what if a local artisan sea salt was available.
With a background in horticulture and landscape design, Greg has always felt a close connection with nature, insisting from a young age that he have a patch of the family garden to call his own. At 17, his very first garden maintenance job was for a successful entrepreneur and his wife who owned a large home and garden in the country. One morning over coffee his client said, “Greg it’s fantastic what you do for us in the garden, but working in the service industry you will be forever trading hours for dollars, what you really need is a product. It’s the only way you can really leverage your time.” Thanking him for his advice, Greg said he would keep it in mind.
Four years ago Greg suddenly fell very ill and was off work for almost a month. Being a self-employed landscape gardener trading hours for dollars, his financial health suffered, alongside his own. During his recovery Greg had plenty of time to think and remembered the advice from 20 years earlier – what he really needed was a business he could grow and generate income from, that didn’t require hands on involvement. Scribbling ideas and searching the internet for inspiration, nothing really took his fancy. Frustrated he put it aside until that day at the farmers' market.
Hauraki Flake Sea Salt is the first artisan salt product in New Zealand; with no additives it’s nature at its best. Hand-harvested and made in small batches, it takes 4.7 litres of salt water to make 100g of flaky sea salt. After the water is collected from the Hauraki Gulf, the salt making process takes around 24 hours. Five hours of boiling, then a further 19-20 hours in the salt pan on a low heat – the long, slow evaporation helps form larger salt crystals. Given it’s a 24 hour process, with things happening at the same time every day, it’s an easy process to follow to maximise production efficiencies.
To get your hands on this new product go to www.haurakisalt.co.nz – you can purchase online or from one of retailers listed. And if you want to see your local food store stock Hauraki Sea Salt, send Greg an email and put them in touch.
What's not to love about a local product that's made from an abundant and sustainable natural resource?
For more stories from Michelle, visit her blog www.thefoodieinc.com