people of rathlin

The People

Kate Burns is the founder and CEO of Islander Rathlin Kelp. With a professional background and personal interest in marine innovation, her ambition is twofold. Firstly, to help people access a new resource of delicious, highly nutritious food. Secondly, to use kelp production to regenerate coastal and island communities.

“Kelp is incredibly nutritious. It’s a superfood, with more iron and calcium than any other vegetable. It is full of protein, vitamin D, magnesium, selenium and potassium. It is a scientifically proven fat inhibitor, so it stops your body from absorbing fat. Islander Rathlin Kelp is unique because its texture is so fine and its favour so delicate. This is because of our unique growing and preservation process. We blanche and freeze our kelp to keep all the flavour and goodness locked in.”

“I’ve spent my life by the sea. I moved to Rathlin Island when I was in my early 20s and I never looked back. Like any island, it’s a beautiful, safe, healthy place to live and raise a family, but in those days there were few prospects. Tourism or fishing are the expected routes, but I was more interested in Rathlin’s past as a place where kelp thrived.”

“Kelp is fussy, the conditions have to be just right for it to grow. We grow our kelp at a point where the Atlantic meets the Irish sea. The currents are very strong here, so it takes good equipment and experience to harvest. Kelp farming is a difficult profession to master, but here on Rathlin Island, we’re leading the way.”

We use a 100% natural process to preserve the kelp. First we wash and blanche the kelp in freshwater. Then we chop it and deep freeze it. Thanks to this refined process which we have developed over many years, Islander Rathlin is certified organic.

The Purpose

We are Islander, but we are not alone:

A growing collective of world class chefs use Islander Rathlin kelp to add balance, texture and original flavour in their kitchens.

Those who prefer to eat natural, chemical free food, love the fact that our kelp is organic and use an entirely natural preservation process to keep Islander fresh.

Islander isn’t just a brand, it’s a philosophy. It’s our ambition to spread our knowledge throughout other coastal communities – to give other islands the chance to grow and process kelp using our techniques. Everyone who works on Islander products is employed directly, and enjoys a professional occupation with training and a decent wage. It’s our ambition to create an Islander Kelp innovation network that will help to keep islands anywhere in the world, alive and thriving.

The Process

Islander Rathlin Kelp is farmed on ropes which reach down into the unusually strong currents around Rathlin Island. The strength of these tides keeps the temperature at a constant and provides the nutrients for our kelp to flourish. This, along with our bespoke cultivation methods, allows Islander Rathlin Kelp to be grown 365 days a year.

We use a 100% natural process to preserve the kelp. First we wash and blanche the kelp in freshwater. Then we chop it and deep freeze it. Thanks to this refined process which we have developed over many years, Islander Rathlin is organic.

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