Using sea salt from the United Kingdom? Chris Manson thought this was crazy so he came back to home turf and became a salt maker.
Chris was like many young Tasmanians keen to explore the world. University in Sydney was his first port of call, then 12 years in the UK where he met his partner Alice at a British music festival.
The duo decided rather than just talking about making salt, they should do it. And so it was. Chris brought his British wife home to Tasmania’s east coast.
“We have this incredible natural resource that we’re surrounded by here in Tasmania,” says Chris. “We set about doing a lot of testing in the waters along the coastline, to ascertain its viability for salt making. Turns out it was really good. So, we took the plunge and came back here.”
That was 2013 when the pair decided to move to Swansea and harvest gourmet sea salt. Fast forward to July 2016 and they have just sent their first export shipment to Germany.
Tasman Sea Salt has found its way into the hands of Australia’s top chefs including Tetsuya Wakuda, with local chefs David Moyle and Iain Todd singing its praises too. The suavely packaged salt can also be found on shelves across Australia.
So what’s involved with salt making? “We try and do as little as possible with our salt. We have a very good quality natural resource that is nutrient rich, so we leave it as untouched and as simple as we can,” Chris explains. “We also use predominantly sustainable energy – both solar and thermal.”
The salt works are located at Mayfield, in the district of Little Swanport, about 10 minutes’ drive from Swansea where the couple live. Driving along a pristine stretch of coastline to work each day is a world away from tube-travel as a London commuter.
“When I left Tasmania, I didn’t appreciate what we had here. In Europe the French boast about their cheese and the Scots about their salmon. Yet, we’ve got that right here in Tasmania.”
“There’s so many opportunities to start up new business here. We would never have been able to do what we’ve done in New South Wales or Victoria. With set-up expenses and ploughing everything you’ve got into a new business often you can’t pay yourself for the first 18 months. With Tasmania being that little bit more affordable, we’ve been able to make it work here.”
Have you got an idea for a new business? Maybe you can Make it Tasmania too.