Seaweed Ireland is run by Ria Peters who worked most of her life as a bookkeeper and accountant. She has two grownup children and, arriving for a holiday to Ireland some years ago they walked down the stairs at Cork Airport where, as Ria says, “I felt as if I was coming home.”
As a result they found a small property on the Ring of Beara which they bought. Having grown up as a city girl and having no brothers she had to learn a lot fast! But she managed to make her dream come to life and is now the happy owner of her own house by the sea, somewhere she can connect to anything that is alive and growing.
Let her introduce you to Seaweed Ireland in her own words:
“We live in a converted boathouse near the head of the Beara Peninsula in County Cork on the Atlantic coast of South West Ireland. This is a rocky, sparsely populated coastal area with no industries.
Having seen one food scandal after another reported in the news we decided to start reducing our dependence on the supermarkets for food by living from the land as people did for many centuries in the past.
We started to plant fruit trees, currants, and grow our own vegetables. Living close to the sea, in our case the Atlantic Ocean, proved to be exceptionally valuable to us providing us with fish, mussels, cockles, shrimps and, of course, seaweed. We soon realised the potential of seaweed as food or a nutritional supplement. We also use seaweed as a fertiliser on the land for our vegetable and fruit garden.
Water quality is vitally important. All our sea vegetables are harvested from the Atlantic in Coulagh Bay which is free from pollution and has no industry based around it. Not all the seaweed we collect is suitable for human consumption. Instead of throwing the material away, though, we use it to produce extracts for use as insecticides and leaf fertilisers and one which has an enriched auxin content.
All the seaweed we use for our food products is freshly cut then dried and milled or fermented. Everything we make we use ourselves and simply sell the excess. We produce only small quantities of seaweed products, often getting more pleasure than money from the process!”