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

Driver convicted in death of Const. Sarah Beckett granted partial parole

Kenneth Jacob Fenton will be able to attend an alcohol abuse treatment, nearly three years after fatal crash in Langford

Husband of slain RCMP officer ‘disgusted and disheartened’ by parole board

Killer of Const. Sarah Beckett allowed limited day parole for alcohol treatment

Toronto Arrows players take aim at youth rugby clinic

Juan de Fuca team offers get acquainted clinics

Braves host 2019 Prospects Game, Sunday at Pearkes

- This story was updated to correct the date of the Prospects… Continue reading

‘Blue Monday’ isn’t real, but depression can be

CMHA encourages people to prioritize their mental health

UPDATE: B.C. legislature managers accused of excessive travel, personal expense claims

Clerk Craig James, security chief Gary Lenz call allegations ‘completely false’

B.C. man fined $10,000 after leaving moose to suffer before death

Surrey man was convicted last week on three Wildlife Act charges

Anti-pipeline group wants NEB to consider impact of emissions, climate change

Stand.earth filed NEB motion asking to apply same standard to the project as it did with Energy East pipeline

B.C. man charged in 2014 snake venom death of toddler

Henry Thomas was taking care of the North Vancouver girl the day before she died

B.C.’s largest public-sector union wants inquiry into money laundering, drugs

Union officials say Premier John Horgan and Attorney General David Eby have not ruled out the possibility of a public inquiry

Teen in confrontation with Native American: I didn’t provoke

Nick Sandmann of Covington Catholic High School said he was trying to defuse the situation

Suspect allegedly armed with handgun robs Island gas station

Incident occurred Sunday night in Nanaimo

MARS seeing influx of sick, injured eagles from north part of Vancouver Island

Factors for increase in eagle cases can be anything from lead poisoning to vehicle strikes

Kamala Harris opens U.S. presidential bid in challenge to Trump

The 54-year old portrayed herself as a fighter for justice, decency and equality in a video distributed by her campaign

Most Read