Captain of SeaGrown, Wave Crooker, started the business with business partner Laura Robinson a little over 2 years ago after retiring from a long career in the Navy and looking for something which combined his love of the sea with his desire to build a sustainable business.
Currently the Sugar Kelp and other seaweed varieties which they use in their seasonings and other products are hand harvested on the coast of Scarborough, working with the tides and often wading well beyond the capabilities of their waders at times! On the day, we all headed out across the rock pools, balancing far less gracefully than the SeaGrown team and stopping every so often to peer into the deep pools admiring the jellyfish and other creatures abandoned by the receding tide. Led by Wave and his harvester Jake we walked right out to the sea where we watched how they find the Sugar Kelp, a beautiful long graceful seaweed, distinguished from regular kelp by the unique bubbly texture. Each strand is then hand cut at the base, never pulled at the root- this is to ensure the plant is allowed to continue growing and preserving the delicate eco-system.
Once the Sugar Kelp is harvested, it is dried by SeaGrown and sent straight to Yorkshire Explorer so we can add it to our Rum.
Like Yorkshire Explorer, SeaGrown have grown exponentially in the short time they have been operating and in order to meet demand while maintaining their commitment to responsible farming, they have recently purchased a plot of land out in the North Sea where they will soon be growing the seaweed on specially designed ropes. Not only will this prevent the natural supplies which grow on the coast becoming depleted, it will serve to create a new eco-system offshore. Their ambitious aim is to become not just carbon neutral but carbon negative by the end of next year.
Working with SeaGrown for the day was so inspirational, their passion for the product the grow and harvest as well as the environment they work in was wonderful to watch and perfectly evidenced in both what they do and how they talk about their work.