Nestled on the rugged coastline of Wales, Câr-y-Môr is a picturesque location that has gained our attention for its unique approach to sustainability and marine resource management. This serene coastal village is a prime example of the growing trend on our shores where seaweed farms are emerging as a promising solution to a multitude of environmental challenges. Johannes, Joanne & the team at Câr-y-Môr and the whole project stood out to us right at the beginning of our search for suppliers around Britain’s coastline. The project is fascinating, good in every way and it also helps they are jolly nice people.
A revolution is coming, Seaweed, often overlooked in the past, is rapidly gaining recognition for its versatile uses and ecological benefits. The UK’s seaweed industry is experiencing a significant upsurge in activity, with a focus on sustainable practices and innovation. Câr-y-Môr, situated on the west coast of Wales, is at the forefront of this seaweed revolution.
It wasn’t a hard sell to our team to get involved. The very idea of bringing new ingredients in to use in our kitchen and on our bar that had unique flavours, something new and innovative, but was also so focused on sustainability ticked all the right boxes for them.
Câr-y-Môr, with its unique coastal geography, is an ideal location for seaweed farming. The village is part of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park and boasts a rich marine ecosystem. Seaweed farms in this region take advantage of the pristine waters and strong tidal currents, which ensure a steady flow of nutrients to the growing seaweed.
Seaweed farming is highly unique in that it has environmental benefits and if good practises are adhered to it can be a positive for its local ecosystem.
Johannes couldn’t have been prouder of their achievements;
“Seaweed and Shellfish - we grow it in the wild seas off Wales using regenerative farming methods. Regenerative ocean farming seeks to maximise the positive environmental impact of the farm. Such as the creation of nursery habitat, providing coastal storm protection and improving water quality just to name a few.”
As a community owned business the economic and community benefits have a positive impact from day one.
Seaweed farming in Câr-y-Môr is not only environmentally responsible but also economically viable, it has created new employment opportunities in the region, providing jobs for residents. Additionally, they have contributed to the tourism industry by attracting visitors interested in eco-friendly activities and sustainable living.
The versatility of seaweed is astounding. In addition to traditional uses in Asian cuisine, the UK’s seaweed industry is exploring innovative applications for this marine resource including Pharmaceuticals, animal feed, biofuel and cosmetics. We of course wanted to work with Câr-y-Môr to incorporate known seaweeds into our food and drink as substitute garnishes for what may need to travel long distances from overseas to arrive on your plates.
On our plates we’ve been using…
Dulse, a red seaweed that is smokey and salty, a great garnish in salads.
Kelp, a brown seaweed that when dried is a great garnish, we’ve used it in our pumpkin gnocchi.
Sea lettuce, a light green leaf that we’ve used in our salads for a light refreshing briny flavour.
Laver, generally red and has a rich flavour that is used to create a spread or condiments and a key ingredient in Laverbread a famous Welsh recipe.
The team at Faber have already managed to use ingredients delivered by Câr-y-Môr in many of our dishes but we also use it in our cocktails. Our Scurvy gin martini being one of our signature recipes with a Monksbeard coulis, but also the humble Bloody Mary, where we use a blend of dried ingredients to create the spice and garnish mix in our own recreated recipe.
That’s our take on it, but what does Johannes and the team cook up for a treat on the farm?
“The best dish using our own ingredients? Seaweed Cawl with Kelp, dulse cockles and mussels”
It’s no easy task running a seaweed farm, the biggest challenge is convincing more people to think of seaweed as such a great commodity and ingredient, the team want to show that everyone who cares can all be part of a new type of business that brings benefit to the planet and its people for future generations. It needs people to do more than just talk, they need to walk the walk.
We hope at Faber we can play our part, Câr-y-Môr are a key supplier for us and as well as seaweed we’ve also started to purchase shellfish from them. But we wanted to go one step further. We don’t sell bottled mineral water, instead we filter our own on site and carbonate for sparkling. Transporting water and throwing away endless amounts of glass just didn’t make sense to us, so we acted and on top of this instead of charging full price for water we only charge a 75p cover charger where the proceeds go back to hopefully help Johannes, Joanne and the whole team grow and do bigger things.
It’s a partnership we are proud of in our early days on this journey.