Wick company on the look out for harvesters to pick a local delicacy
6th October 2016
A Wick-based firm aims to expand production this autumn by recruiting casual workers to gather a forgotten food from the wild coasts of Caithness.
New Wave Foods has been sustainably harvesting high-quality seaweed for food over the last six months.
One of Scotland's most famous edible seaweeds is the deep red coloured dulse and it is just coming into peak season for harvesting.
Dulse thrives in the strong tides and crashing waves of the Pentland Firth, with the high water exchange providing it with all the nutrients it needs to grow.
It is a small and delicate plant, and so New Wave Foods is looking to take on more people to help with the harvesting effort.
Tom McGee is the company's Operations Manager and he's keen to hear from anyone wanting to know more about seaweed harvesting.
"This role will suit people who enjoy working outdoors and, of course, requires a willingness to brave the Caithness weather!
Hours will vary as we need to fit harvesting in with the spring tides; we may even have a place for someone that could only harvest at weekends."
Like other seaweeds, dulse is a versatile ingredient packed with minerals and protein.
It was an important food for coastal communities in Scotland for hundreds of years, being mentioned in records extending back to the time of Saint Columba in the 6th Century.
Dulse was a staple for crofters, who would include the seaweed in broths and porridge, and it was also chewed raw as a snack.
It was still popular in the Victorian era, with Charles Dickens recalling spending his pocket money on dried dulse during childhood holidays in Aberdeen.
Peter Elbourne - Operations Director of New Wave Foods - has heard stories from locals who remember picking dulse in their youth.
"When chatting to people in the area about seaweed, we sometimes stir up memories of harvesting around Caithness in years gone by. For example, dulse used to be harvested at Keiss and dried on the village green.
We're looking to pick Caithness dulse once again, although we’ll be taking it back to our factory in Wick to dry!"
New Wave Foods’ licences cover the north and east coasts of Caithness and there will be opportunities for people living near the sites to join in with the harvesting.
Anyone interested in finding out more should contact Tom McGee on 07825 828356 / email@example.com.
Operations Manager Tom McGee harvesting on the shore -
Photographer - Robert MacDonald, Northern Studios.