Donegal’s seaweed is fast becoming a worldwide success story.
The leading company OGT is a Donegal-based upstart that’s quickly become known for its dynamism and entrepreneurial style; so much, in fact, that the company received a nomination for the Ernest and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards 2009.
A lot of the seaweed is used to fertilize golf greens, as it’s an extremely nutritious fertilizer. It’s also equally as good at fertilizing human bodies: it’s a rich source of vitamins, minerals, and even has the ability to keep the body’s Ph balance in check. In fact it’s considered a “superfood”, a member of a small but distinguished group of foods with extraordinary nutritional value.
Seaweed growing is one of the Irish west coast's primary industries. Harvesting seaweed has been practiced for at least 50 years, and it’s one of the more traditional forms of industries, also being heavily associated with Gaelic-speaking areas. such as the Aran Islands.
Algae Green, the trading name of Oileann Glas Teoranta, the business’s registered name, trades mostly in sporting uses of seaweed.
It’s thus far been used to improve the greens of some of the finest golf course in Ireland, and indeed the world. The Old Head (Kinsale), Ballybunion, The Heritage (Portlaoise), the K Club - site of a Ryder Cup tournament - , Cruden Bay, Loch Lomond (Scotland), El Dorado Club (Mexico) and the Valley Club (San Diego) have all used the Donegal company’s produce to improve their playing surfaces, while demand for the liquid also sees it exported to the UK, America, France, Switzerland and Mexico.
The company’s website gives an insight into the painstaking process of preparing and shipping out professional grade seaweed: “On arrival at the factory, the seaweed is hand inspected prior to production to ensure it equals the company's high quality demands. From here the seaweed enters a unique cold extraction process vital for the retention of both the micro and macronutrients but also various antioxidants in which Ascophyllum nodosum is naturally rich."
Besides feeding sporting greens and human bodies, the seaweed is also used in horticulture, garden care, and soccer pitches.
The seaweed is extensively tested at Belfast’s renowned Queens University before being used in its many applications.