Tony Fraser was working for the Government on tropical forestry in East Africa and the Solomon Islands his two children were born in Swaziland when he decided to come home for their education. Wed been living in remote areas for 15 years, and didnt want urban life, so the family settled on the Lizard in Cornwall. Then there was the question of finding a job. Im interested in local history, and found there was an Iron Age saltworks right by the sea. Clay pottery for the saltpans was found there. So, having turned down cheese-making and garden tours, he decided to harvest sea salt. Cornish Sea Salt now joins only two other salt-making firms in Britain Maldon, some 120 years old, and Halen Môn Sea Salt on Anglesey, founded in 1996.
It took some time to get planning permission for the new salt works, as they are in both an AONB and an SSSI were only 26ft or so from the sea. I sit in my office looking out to the ocean but the salt works are located discreetly in a quarry. Unlike that made by Iron Age workers, Cornish Sea Salt is harvested by evaporation. We take sea water, which is 3.5% salt, and, when we return it, its 3% salt. The Iron Age people had open pans with fires below. They would produce tiny crystals with all sorts of algae, shells and seaweed in them. Today, the water off the Lizard is Grade A, the highest possible purity, and the salt is so full of flavour that you need to use less.
For stockists, telephone 0845 337 5277 or visit www.cornishseasalt.co.uk (and, any minute now, buy online). A pack of 225g costs £3.85.