Our journey of seaweed innovation
Pacific Harvest’s beginnings date back to the 1990’s when an itinerant salesman in New Zealand’s South Island started selling karengo out of the back of his car to patrons of the local pubs. We have come a long way since then.
Doug and Louise Fawcett acquired Pacific Harvest in 2002 with the idea of making sea vegetables (edible seaweed) an integral part of Western cooking. The focus has been equally on providing a great taste experience and giving the benefit of their outstanding wellness properties. Pacific Harvest’s product range is innovative in its use of seaweeds by mixing the new with the familiar, with a goal to carve itself a place of choice as key ingredient in any meal.
The first step was to set Pacific Harvest apart from the Asian seaweed brands/products and appeal to New Zealanders, and other Westerners.
All our New Zealand sea vegetables are selected and
hand-harvested by professionals under permit from Ministry of Fisheries. We only harvest from areas where nature has remained pristine and free of contaminants.
Karengo is a seasonal seaweed sustainably harvested from the Kaikoura Coast during the winter. The plants are taken from the inter-tidal rocks, naturally air-dried and sent to Pacific Harvest’s facilities in Auckland’s North Shore.
There are many different Kelps in New Zealand – we use ecklonia radiata which is recognized by connoisseurs for its mild taste and relative softness and is available all year. It is harvested in areas far from the pollution of farm run-offs. As cutting it is not allowed, it is collected after being detached from the kelp forest during a storm but before it gets contaminated by the laying on the beach. It is thoroughly rinsed (in seawater to preserve the mineral content) and naturally air-dried on racks. Whole leaves are carefully selected and trimmed to make into Kombu strips and leaves. The rest is milled into granules and powder.
NZ Wakame grows in a similar environment to the kelp but can be cut with the applicable permits from Ministry of Fisheries. It is also air-dried and sent to our factory. Other New Zealand seaweeds are harvested either by divers or from the rocks in areas free from contamination.
Our imported seaweeds are only harvested in pollution-free non-radioactive waters. We demand the same high standards of quality and sustainability from our suppliers that we do for our indigenous seaweeds.
The dried Karengo is milled in our factory in Auckland. It is then manually cleaned and graded - a meticulous and labour-intensive job consisting of rubbing the leaves on a special surface to unfold them and free any debris which is then discarded. It is then separated into fronds and flakes. Some of the flakes are then further dried and milled to produce Karengo Granules (a coarse powder). All our Karengo is raw, preserving maximum nutritional value.
Most of our Kelp is milled into granules and powder before it gets to our facilities in Auckland. Some of the granules are used as a base for our flavoured kelp seasonings. The kelp is combined with other natural ingredients to achieve four fantastic flavours – lemon, chilli, lime and garlic. We also produce smoked kelp in the traditional manner using manuka chips from New Zealand’s native tea tree tree.
The kelp leaves that are sent to us whole are prepared it into Kombu which has similar properties to the Japanese or Korean kombu. It is highly sought after because of the clean unpolluted waters in which it is grown and is presented in the form of leaves or dried strips.
Pacific Harvest’s Agar is manufactured in New Zealand and is reputed to be the best in the world for its quality and jellifying properties. We also make Furikake, a seasoning made with five different seaweeds, sesame seeds, and natural flavours. Unlike most traditional Japanese furikake, ours does not contain dried fish or added MSG.
Pacific Harvest’s natural Sea Salt is organically certified from the producer in New Zealand’s South Island. Pacific Harvest then produces a number variety of salt mixtures for the health and gourmet markets, including our popular naturally iodised, natural kelp salt.
All of our processes are executed in approved facilities and we comply with the NZ Manufacturers food hygiene requirements.
All our processes are executed in approved food grade facilities and we comply with the NZ Manufacturers food hygiene requirements.
Since 2002 Pacific Harvest has increased the public’s interest and understanding of seaweed in New Zealand mainly through food shows, in-store tastings and Seaweed Appreciation Workshops. A significant amount of resource has been devoted to creating recipes showing off seaweed ingredients. See our blog: www.seaweedrecipes.co.nz.
Our products are now carried by leading gourmet food shops and health food shops throughout New Zealand and also featured on the menus of many of New Zealand’s top restaurants.
Pacific Harvest is a member of a number of clusters including the Indigenous New Zealand Cuisine.
Over the years, Pacific Harvest has been the focus of quite a few articles. Copies of some of these can be found in the news section.
Since 2008, Pacific Harvest’s seaweeds have been incorporated as ingredients in a number of high end food products distributed in the supermarkets by other leading manufacturers.
Pacific Harvest has been approached by a number of countries seeking seaweeds from New Zealand’s clean, unpolluted waters, but limitations on the types and quantities of seaweeds that can be harvested made it difficult for us to commit consistent supply. Pacific Harvest does export its seaweed products around the world to individuals or small organisations looking to promote a healthy diet and lifestyle.
Only recently, Pacific Harvest started to move towards a full social media presence. Our goal is to access the users of our products and also people generally interested in food to provide information, recipes and help.
A special thanks to our photographic contributors: Esther & Ross, Ceridwen Fraser, Kim Westerskov, Kate Neil and Arno Gesteiger.