Sooke seaweed harvester says interest among local chefs is growing

Sooke seaweed harvester says interest among local chefs is growing

WATCH: It’s already been used for centuries in other parts of the world, seaweed is growing in popularity here, now finding itself in kitchens across the Island. Luisa Alvarez met up with a seaweed harvester in Sooke whose love for the ocean turned into a sustainable business.  

For 17 years Amanda Swinimer has taken her love for the ocean and turned it into a sustainable business.

She runs Dakini Tidal Wilds selling seaweed she’s harvested herself.

?What I would imagine hanging out with god or whatever your higher power is that’s what I feel when I’m in the ocean,? said Swinimer.

She harvests it all by hand in the spring when the tide is low and going out into the ocean, with her wetsuit, snorkel and bag in tow.

But like any other harvest, there’s a way to do it right. Swinimer says it’s important to understand how in order for it to remain sustainable.

“You leave the part that’s attached and depending on the seaweed some of them have different reproductive structures you leave those intact and you leave several inches attached to the rock and you cut above that,? said Swinimer.

Bringing full bags home and carefully hanging each piece to dry has become her way of life. Alaria Marginata is just one of the hundreds of species of seaweed that exists but its one of the two kinds Swinimer sells and like all of them its a nutritional powerhouse.

“Its the second highest calcium food source on the planet its second to a Japanese seaweed its got almost like a sweet flavor but a bit of a thicker texture than some of the other seaweeds,” said Swinimer.

Most recently its been growing in popularity and Swinimer says “It started being a real hot ticket with a lot of the up and coming chefs and now I’m selling to a lot of the top restaurants in Victoria.?

Restaurants like Cafe Bliss and Fairmont Empress now use her seaweed.

“There’s nothing else in the world that tastes like it and its local. Very sustainable and its a wild food so the chef community is really getting excited about seaweeds and its fun for me to watch what they create with it as well,? added Swinimer.

To find a full list of restaurants and more information on Swinimer’s seaweed business visit her website.

Luisa AlvarezLuisa Alvarez

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