New Ipswich business revives a tradition

Robert Stephenson at Levington Marina where he collects sea water for his compant Suffolk Sea Salt.

Robert Stephenson at Levington Marina where he collects sea water for his compant Suffolk Sea Salt.

Reviving an ancient business in port town Ipswich

An Ipswich business has revived one of the oldest industries in the world, right in the heart of Suffolk’s county town.

Suffolk Sea Salt, based at Fore Street, is the first salt producer

in the county for more than 100 years – the last operation being Southwold Salt Works, which

shut down in 1900.

Architect Robert Stephenson

of Suffolk Sea Salt set up the business three years ago after a ‘eureka’ moment. “We started with the idea of producing something with a main ingredient you could get for free,” he said.

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One thing led to another and soon enough Suffolk Sea Salt began harvesting water right from the river Orwell, a process than now takes place monthly.

“We are allowed to take 25,000 litres of sea water a day from anywhere along the river on an outward tide to get the best of it when it’s been on

the marshes – that increases the salinity of the water,” Robert revealed.

The water, which is certified independently for quality, is then taken back to the Fore Street factory where it undergoes a “complex but simple” completely natural two to four-day process when (to make the original version) nothing is added or

taken away. Double filtration

and evaporation ensure purity

is achieved.

The salt is then independently tested by a laboratory in Needham Market, which has shown the product to contain 22 essential minerals.

Suffolk Sea Salt is now the

third largest producer of sea

salt in England and Robert

hopes local people will look to

the brand as their salt of choice when it goes on sale in all East

of England Co-op stores, delis

and independent shops in the

new year.

Around 1,000 kilos of salt is being produced each month, with plans to expand in 2016 to at least double that figure.

Chefs including Delia Smith and Gary Rhodes are already enjoying using the salt in their dishes, as are chefs at the Exclusive Inns group (which operates The Swan in Monks Eleigh and The Angel in Nayland amongst others).

What Robert is most excited about is the range of flavoured salts they’ve been able to conjure up. “Our process is unique. Omega Ingredients in Great Blakenham gets a natural infusion into every grain. Every grain has that flavour. When you put a pinch in food it makes a difference.”

Flavours include Suffolk oak smoked, pepper, garlic, chilli, onion, Sicilian lemon, smoked bacon, apple (which makes great crackling apparently), mint, herb, tangerine, chocolate and wasabi.

“I like the Suffolk oak smoked,” revealed Robert. “I don’t like smoked bacon, but I put a little

of this in the pan with unsmoked bacon for a beautiful flavour. The Italian herb is lovely too.”

n Look out for Suffolk Sea Salt in your local Co-op in early 2016. To find out more, go to

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