Sea salt harvesting

Harvesting the "White Gold" of the Algarve

Clean Atlantic water and careful manual harvesting, favoured by the absence of industrial emissions and the dry and windy Algarvian summers, are the key elements to producing premium sea salt. Depending on the weather patterns during the harvesting season, production may vary.


Salt pans

The salterns of the Ria Formosa and the Sapal de Castro Marim

The traditional salt works for premium quality sea salt are situated on the Atlantic coastline within the protected "Ria Formosa" and “Sapal de Castro Marim" nature reserves. The design of these »salinas« follows a 2000 year old tradition, and many of them contain historic parts such as tide mills and basins used for salt gathering over the centuries.

Production is limited not only by weather conditions and manual harvesting, but also by the 1:10 ratio of crystallization and concentration areas to be found in traditional salt pans.


Quality level

Flor de Sal, Sal Tradicional and Sal do Mar

Sae salt is harvested and sold in the Algarve on 3 quality levels:

Flor de Sal
Flor de Sal is the finest flower of sea salt. It appears as a thin layer floating on the surface of the brine. These first fragile crystals are carefully skimmed off every day in good weather conditions and only sun dried before packing.

Sal Tradicional
This unprocessed seasalt comes from small traditional crystallizer ponds. Salt crystals originate from the concentrating brine and precipitate to the clay bottom of the ponds. The salt is harvested every 10 to 14 days, by hand with wooden rakes, and shaped into piles beneath the pans. Sun drying maintains the natural moisture and the sea water's minerals.

Sal do Mar
At the end of the season this quality salt is harvested by small machinery, in most cases by a carefully guided mini loader. The salt cristals are of a more solid structure. Thus, Sal do Mar is often sold ground and is a little less soluble in water.


Harvesting Sea Salt

The process of manually harvesting sea salt in the Algarve goes back to a 2000 year old tradition.

The season for sea salt usually starts in May, when the spring rains have stopped and the pools, dykes and wooden locks have been cleaned and prepared. Fresh Atlantic sea water flows into the salt pans and evaporates gradually in successive pools, until it has reached a salt concentration of 150 to 180 grams per litre. The brine is then forwarded to the small and flat crystallizer pans. At a concentration of 250 to 280 grams per litre the salt starts crystallizing and is ready within a few days and is gathered by hand. After each harvest, new brine is added and new salt crystallizes. This process is repeated until the last harvest at the end of September, before the autumn rains begin to fall. In the wintertime, the salt pans remain covered by water and the »marnotos« take care of the salt pans’ maintenance and the repair of their handcrafted harvesting tools.


Salt trade

Quality products by Marisol

Clean Atlantic water and careful manual harvesting, favoured by the absence of industrial emissions and the dry and windy Algarvian summers, are the key elements to producing premium sea salt. Depending on the weather patterns during the harvesting season, production may vary and consequently, our stocks may sometimes be limited.


As quality is paramount for Marisol sea salt, we only select natural, unprocessed salt from the Eastern Algarve´s traditional salterns, in contrast to industrial salt works that are also to be found in the Algarve.

We rely on trusting business partnerships, fair prices for producers and transparency for our customers. In conjunction with our suppliers and certifiers, we aim to maintain a long standing tradition as well as to establish sustainable salt production.The certification by Certiplanet and Natural Food Certifiers guarantees careful harvesting by hand and the salt´s safety with regard to its chemical composition. Marisol, however, guarantees its quality and taste.


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