An Interview with "SeaEO" Fiona Houston

Mara Seaweed "SeaEO" Fiona Houston

Get the scoop on Mara Seaweed here!

Our "SeaEO" Fiona gave us an interview on the benefits of seaweed, how Mara Seaweed was founded and the company's plans for 2015.  

How is your product different to others on the market?

We are the only company in the UK to produce delicious, healthy, artisan and local seaweed seasonings ethically and sustainably.

How did your company begin?

Co-founder Xa Milne and I met in our children’s playground in 2005, and discovered a shared passion for Scotland’s natural larder. We decided to write a book “Seaweed and Eat It” (Virgin, 2008) chronicling our discovery of Scotland’s forgotten wild foods, and how to turn them into everyday recipes with a modern twist.

We become self-taught experts in our native seaweed species: everything from how to identify, harvest, dry and process them, as well as their extraordinary flavour and how to cook with them.

We discovered the enriching powers of Scotland’s native seaweeds, their role in our past, and their extraordinary potential to enrich and nourish our future. In 2011, Mara Seaweed was born.

What is your favourite product from the range?

Shony. It's a great all-round seasoning, which I use for everything from my breakfast eggs or porridge, sprinkled on my lunchtime salads, and my favourite, sprinkled over fish or kale and roasted in the oven until crispy…

Tell us something we might not know about the product?

A teaspoon of Shony will give you your daily dose of essential minerals such as iodine, iron, potassium and magnesium… A teaspoon a day keeps the doctor away!

What are the best and the worst parts of your job?

The best bits are escaping from my desk and getting out on the beach harvesting. It's incredibly therapeutic and an essential induction for all Mara Seaweed employees! I have a great, passionate team of unconventional visionaries who I work with, and every day brings something interesting.

I also love the excitement of building a new business and bringing an ancient food to a modern audience. It feels more like a mission than a job!

Worst bits... There are no worst bits! Actually, spreadsheets. And raising money.

What motivates you?

Fresh challenges and adding value to my country’s beautiful landscape and natural resources. Innovating, and bringing something new to the table, at the same time building a new business for Scotland.

What’s on the horizon?

2015 is a big year for Mara Seaweed. We are launching another new product, Applewood Smoked Dulse; a real favourite with chefs with a fabulous umami flavour. We want to build our customer base in the UK, and at the same time we plan to export Mara to the seaweed-loving nations in Asia.

If you could be a food, which food and why?

Seaweed obviously, it suits my character – natural, elemental and free flowing!


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