— Photo by Joe Gibbons/The Telegram
A New Harbour man hopes Newfoundland sea salt will soon be sprinkled over Newfoundlanders’ food.
Ward George launched Pure Sea Salt on Wednesday, unveiling the salt he makes at his farm with water from Trinity Bay after getting the idea two years ago.
“I have a greenhouse nursery in New Harbour, and I had a structure that was being underutilized,” George, 54, told the Telegram after the official launch at Rocket Bakery in St. John’s Thursday morning.
“Being an avid home cook, I’ve always been using sea salt for many years, it was truly a eureka moment when I got in front of the stove one evening and went up to the cupboard to bring down some salt, and it clicked: Why not try making sea salt utilizing the greenhouse? That’s how it started two years ago, the idea.”
George is using a rubber liner — 25 feet by 50 feet — to collect the salt, left behind as the water is evaporated by the sun and wind, different from the normal process of boiling off the water.
It’s his new method that George says caused “government bureaucracy” to take 14 months before he was cleared for sale to the public.
His first batch took about a month to produce, making about 400 pounds — he didn’t want to make more before he knew if he was going to be able to sell it.
He’s tweaked the system this year, he said, by closing the doors to the greenhouse instead of leaving them open, and turning up the temperature inside to speed up the process. The rule of thumb, he says, is that every gallon of sea water produces four ounces of salt.
Right now he’s targeting the local high-end restaurant market, as well as selling his products online, at Rocket Bakery and at the St. John’s Farmer’s Market.
He also hopes to sell to tourists and — if he does well enough to grow — he wants to get into grocery stores.
“That all depends on production,” he said. “Obviously right now I’m trying to get the most bang for my buck and to expand the business, and that needs money. But sure thing, if the end of the day production is up to meet the demand of grocery stores, that’s where I want to be as well.”