Family develops sustainable method of harvesting salt

A Queensland family has been harvesting salt for generations and the process is much cooler than you might think. 

The Olsson family uses seawater, sun, wind and the passage of time to produce salt in Port Alma. Water pumped from the ocean moves through the local ponds causing the salt content to increase. The process is called solar evaporation

When the salt concentration reaches 25.8 percent, the saltwater (or brine) is moved to a crystallizer pond. At this point, the salt sediment begins to drop out of the water and form a layer of salt on the pond. This is when the Olsson’s harvest, dry and package the salt. The process is sustainable and doesn’t harm the environment because it occurs through natural evaporation. 

“It’s about a two-year process from the time it comes out of the ocean until it goes into a wash. So as it gets hosed, it gets washed, spun dried and kiln dried and then crushed,” Murray Olsson told the Associated Press.

The Olsson’s produce 40,000 tonnes of salt at the Port Alma site annually. The salt is sold to farmers as blocks for cattle as well as markets for cooking. However, unlike other farmers, the Olsson’s don’t pray for rain. They rely on solar power after all. 

“A drought for us is when it’s raining in growing salt, because you spend the year evaporating water out of the salt fields and then when the rain comes it’s a real disappointment,” Olsson told the Associated Press.

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