East Neuk Seaweed founder Jayson Byles on sustainable foraging

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East Neuk Seaweed founder Jayson Byles holds workshops celebrating Scotland’s abundance of health-giving seaweed

words Adrianne Webster

Along the shores of Fife’s East Neuk, come rain, wind or sunshine, you’ll find Jayson Byles in his element. After a move to Scotland from his native New Zealand over a decade ago to work in the seaweed-harvesting industry, he launched East Neuk Seaweed, a community conservation and foraging business, focused on exploring sustainable ways to connect with nature.

At his educational workshops, you can enjoy a real sea-to-fork experience, with Jayson teaching all about the best seaweed to forage for (he’s a particular fan of ‘laver’, otherwise known as Atlantic nori). Afterwards, whatever you’ve found will be cooked as part of a delicious wild dinner, eaten right there alfresco on the beach.

His favourite seaweedy dishes? “In the springtime there’s a really nice diversity of different seaweeds,” he says. “I love to make ‘sea spaghetti’, with garlic and lemon sauce. Hake wrapped in sea lettuce is another great dish.

A lot of the kelps have quite a subtle flavour, which means they go really well with whatever you’re already enjoying. For example, sea lettuce goes great in your everyday salad. Laver or nori, dried out, works perfectly in scrambled eggs, but is great in all sorts of recipes because it has this lovely umami taste.”

And seaweed isn’t just delicious; it comes packed with health-giving properties, too, says Jayson: “It’s a real powerhouse of vitamins and nutrients. Seaweed is an important source of iodine, magnesium and potassium. It’s also a very balanced food. There’s a little bit of carbs, a little bit of protein, and it’s high in fibre.”

A wild swim, an outdoor sauna (there are several along the Fife coast) and foraging in the sea, before warming up by the fire with some freshly cooked dinner? We’re sold.

Follow East Neuk Seaweed on Instagram @eastneukseaweed


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