While salt production has been Inagua’s main industry since the late 1930’s, it is no stranger to some of the other islands across The Bahamas, where ‘salt ponds’ referred to as salinas (spanish) still exist as remnants of a by-gone era.
Today, Calae Oliver, founder of the Eleuthera-based Octis Organic Seasonings utilizes this ‘white gold’ as a key ingredient in some of her products, her newest being a salt and coconut fusion which as she puts it, ‘makes your skin feel like silk,” while re-infusing it with key minerals.
“We use all organic coconut oil and coconut milk and coconut essence which is all food grade and we don’t use any preservatives because the salt is a natural preservative. You can use it on your hands, your feet, your entire body. It makes you skin feel like silk,” says Oliver.
The product is already proving to be a hit, with one major resort working a deal to have the product in all of their bathrooms and open spaces. “Soap dries your hand out our salt fusion gives you all of the minerals back ,” says Oliver.
“We collect the pond salt. It has over 80 minerals and trace minerals. If you’re diabetic, if you are hypertensive you can use it and it won’t affect you. If you’re hypertensive it will actually help you. All of our seasonings are based from that,” says Oliver. Her company, founded eight years ago, rakes up to 10,000 gallons of salt each year from salt ponds from, Eleuthera, Ragged Island and Long Island and Exuma which provides a ‘major haul’.
As she points out, regular table salt which is composed primarily of Sodium Chloride, may be good for melting snow and other industrial uses but it’s actually quite bad for the body.
Octis was founded eight years ago and is a name which refers to Oliver’s children Octavia and son Octavian. The company which began offering seasons now has 19 products.
“Our staple seasoning which is Eleuthera’s blend which will soon be changed to island herbs that has no salt. It’s just a combination of eight different herbs gathered from 10 different farms on the island.”
“We also have teas. We have over 10,000 trees tagged. We have teas like the Sweet Margaret, Sour Sop, Lemon Grass and the Strongman tea which is a combination of 21 different bushes,” says Oliver, who is also moving to export her products into the US.