I had the pleasure of meeting and drinking with Martin MacLeod managing director of award winning Hebridean Seaweed and Simon Ranger of Seagreens recently.

Martin is from  Leurbost and before the set up of the company was previously employed in the seaweed processing industry with over 14 years of experience working in the field (sea?!). Simon hails from south of the border (England not Harris!) and is the founder and managing director of Seagreens whose founding aim was simply ‘to get a gram of the best seaweed into the human diet on a daily basis’.

Both are passionate about the islands and their products and it was inspirational to hear of the progress and plans for this natural Hebridean product and the possibilities for the island and its economy. More so when you consider the long history of seaweed’s use on the islands by crofters. It’s this sort of thing that floats my boat, age-old traditions finding applications in today’s world.

From use as fertiliser, food, fodder, industrial ingredient and alginates of yesteryear to health products and more today, seaweed has been a vital part of island life. You can learn more here.

My particular interest was for use in our restaurant where we continue to champion island products and traditional ingredients. We’ve taken samples of two of their primary organic seaweed products, gathered and processed on the Isle of Lewis and our chef is currently experimenting on integrating them into new dishes but meantime we took delivery of the Seagreens Mineral Salt and currently have a tub on every table alongside the traditional condiments.

The good news is that this unusual mix of Lewis seaweed and Cornish sea salt has really hit the spot with customers who have been readily adding it to their dishes from handcut chips to beer battered fish to piping hot soups and more. It really adds something to food and is far healthier than ordinary salt.

If you’d like some for yourself you can order online or if in Glasgow go to Grassroots on Woodlands Road.

Oh, and if you rather have seaweed on you than in you the excellent spa at Blythswood Square Hotel offers a number of Hebridean Seaweed “Turus” treatments from baths and wraps to facials and scrubs. Those of you living near a Lewis beach might save yourself a journey (and a little money) by gathering your own 😉