Saltwest Naturals, owned and operated by Jeff Abel and his wife Jessica, is a business that harvests sea-salt from our our area’s waters. The sea-salt business is one of the largest in all of Canada, as their product is distributed to over 400 stores across the country. (Dawn Gibson/Sooke News Mirror)

Sooke salt producer shaking up the market

Saltwest Naturals was launched in 2011 and is now one of the largest sea salt producers in Canada

Who could have guessed that Sooke would have one of the largest sea-salt production businesses in Canada?

Saltwest Naturals was launched in 2011 by Jessica and Jeff Abel, after the couple was chatting with friends and realized that there wasn’t anywhere around, that they could find, making sea salt.

They started out making small batches and selling them at markets in the area, and now, Saltwest Naturals is distributed to more than 400 stores across the country.

The process of making sea salt is hands on and labour intensive, but all of the manufacturing is done in Sooke.

The company’s salt is harvested from the ocean through evaporation, and Jeff said it’s about a four day process from collecting the water out of the sea, to getting it in the package and ready to sell.

First, the water is retrieved in a large tank and brought back to the manufacturing site, then the water goes through a reverse osmosis machine to make the water have a higher salt concentrate. All the resulting fresh water from this process is bottled and sold as well.

Next, the water is boiled for about 12 hours. From there, it’s boiled further in steam pots where the salt is infused with natural flavours.

From here, the salt, which will be in a paste-like form, is split up in to batches and roasted in the oven for six to eight hours until it’s dry enough to be sifted. Lastly, it is packaged and ready for distribution.

A small amount of the salt is evaporated using sunlight, which leaves no carbon footprint and is unique to the Saltwest company.

The company now has 15 culinary salts, six bath soaks, and three different scented bars of soap. Some of Jeff’s culinary favourites are the roasted garlic and onion, and the smoked house peppercorn flavours, and one of Jessica’s favourites is the salted caramel chocolate.

Over the years, the company has grown substantially, and it recently won awards for its product, including the Ocean Products of the Year award at 2018 Vancouver Island Business Awards.

“It was totally unexpected, but it was really lovely to win,” said Jessica. “We’ve kind of just had our heads down focusing on what we do for the past seven years, so for us to get that recognition was really cool.”

Recently, Saltwest released a spicy ancho chili salt, and hopes to release a lemongrass infused bath salt later this year.

“We like to try and release two new products per year,” said Jeff. “We hope to keep growing our business and eventually we hope to expand into the U.S. market .”

To take a tour of Saltwest Naturals, contact Jessica and Jeff Abel at saltwest1@gmail.com.

Just Posted

Four-sailing wait at BC Ferries Swartz Bay terminal

Full vessels create long waits on Friday afternoon

A year in tent city: Timeline of Camp Namegans

Since September 2017, Victoria’s homeless camp has set up in more than 20 locations

Tent city campers prepare to leave Uplands Park

Vehicle access remains restricted at Cattle Point

Tommy Chong says cannabis legalization makes him proud to be a Canadian

Legendary marijuana advocate and comedian celebrates cultural milestone at Kelowna event

‘Repeat test fails’ clogging up the system, says ICBC

Increased driver education key to shorter wait times, safer roads

WATCH: Twelve Angry Jurors puts a new spin on an old tale

Canadian College of Performing Arts opens season with reworked version of Reginald Rose teleplay

B.C. tickets win big in Lotto Max draw

Jackpot carried over; B.C. tickets share Max Millions prizes

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for Oct. 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Do you support amalgamation for communities in the Capital Region?

Residents in Victoria and Saanich will be voting on Oct. 20 on… Continue reading

‘Mom, I’m in trouble:’ Canadian faces 10 years for alleged graffiti

Brittney Schneider, another tourist caught spraying message on walls of Tha Pae Gate in Thailand

Feds consulting on national anti-racism strategy behind closed doors

Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez says people still face systemic racism in some communities

Enbridge aims for mid-November to finish B.C. pipeline repair after blast

A natural gas pipeline that ruptured and burned near Prince George caused an explosion and fireball

How to get government cheques if Canada Post staff go on strike

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers said members could go on rotating strikes as early as Monday

Most Read