The start of Pyramid Salt has a wonderful element in that it came about from the frustrations of the local farmers around the Pyramid-Hill/Boort areas.
Prior to European occupation, the billions of tonnes of salt in the Murray-Darling Basin were stored in the geological profile. However, introduction of land clearing and inefficient irrigation methods by European settler farmers increased recharge to the groundwater systems. Consequently the water tables have risen and mobilised the previously dormant salt. The result has been the salinisation of large volumes of groundwater and an increased discharge of natural and induced saline water to the rivers, lakes and agricultural land.
When the saline watertable reaches within about 1 metre of the ground surface, capillary action causes the salts to be drawn to the surface thus accumulating through the evaporation in the topsoils. Depending on the concentration of these accumulated salts in the topsoil, they can result in degradation ranging from reduced productivity to the inability of the soil to support any vegetation at all. A recent audit of the Murray Darling Basin indicated “Between 3 and 5 million hectares of land in the eastern and southern regions of the basin will be salt affected within 50-100 years” if remedial steps are not taken to reverse this process. The Murray Darling Basin incorporates 75% of Australian irrigation and provides over 41% of Australia’s gross value of agricultural production.
It has long been recognised that lowering and maintaining the water table below 1.5 – 2.0 metres could reverse this salinisation process. Lowering of watertable can be achieved by groundwater pumping from shallow aquifers. The problem that existed was what to do with the groundwater pumped for such purposes.
Faced with the salt issue becoming so obvious that trees were dying from its incursion, local farmer and entrepreneur, John Ross along with industrial chemist Gavin Privett, joined forces to devise a system of extracting the ancient salt from the water table and give the land a fighting chance to reduce its salinity problem.
In 1991, the establishment of Pyramid Salt Pty. Ltd. to research and develop methods of land desalination through groundwater pumping and commercial solar salt production began in earnest. Primary salt production produced a standard product ideal for farming and swimming pools, yet the further the process went, the finer the salt became.
In turn, the salt they discovered from their system of pond evaporation process was second to none.
Pyramid Salt was born and the flakes of ancient crystals are testament to the purity that gives Pyramid Salt its wonderful flavour, a uniqueness that is adored by chefs who care.
You just have to try some to taste the difference.