Galicia is apparently the center of seaweed processing in Spain. This starts in the region around La Coruña and practically goes all the way to the Portuguese border. We made our next stop in the city of Vigo at Capitan Alga.
Who founded Capitan Alga?
The company was set up by Sergio García Gil 5 years ago. At first, wholesalers were mainly supplied in Italy and France.
In addition to Spain, Capitan Alga for end consumers is now also available in Germany, France and Italy.
Sergio is very energetic and bursting with ideas. As a second mainstay he sells boats and is a skipper.
Sergio studied International Trade and Capitan Alga came about as a “school project”. Added to this was his love for Galicia, good products and cooking.
Where and how is it harvested?
Capitan Alga seaweed comes from the Rias Baixa region north of Vigo. Sergio told us that around 500 kg of seaweed is harvested per day. It takes three people about two hours to do this.
Sergio’s company processes 40-50 tons of seaweed per year. For comparison, according to Sergio, the total harvest in Spain is 600 tons. It is controlled and sustainable, since government approval is required for harvesting.
How is the seaweed processed?
Fresh seaweed has a shelf life of around 14-15 days. In salt and refrigerated it keeps for 6 months. In order to make it last longer, some of the seaweed is also dried at Capitan Alga. This takes place at a temperature of 45°C and lasts 12 hours. For this, by the way, a machine is used that is normally used to make banana chips. The drying capacity is currently 10 kg per day.
Until now, the packaging has been done by hand, which limits the capacity to 100 packs per day. In the future, this will be done automatically, which should increase the capacity to 500 packs per day.
The seaweed in the jar is pickled in brine and has been pasteurized. This extends the shelf life to 4 years.
Where can you get Capitan Alga products?
Bulk buyers come first, followed by the Horeca sector (i.e. gastronomy, etc.) and end consumers in third place.
In Spain, for example, you can find Capitan Alga at Corte Ingles and smaller stores. In France, the consumption of seaweed is already more widespread. And in Germany you can get the products mainly in organic shops.
You can also find Capitan Alga at major trade fairs in Paris, Nuremberg or recently at the Feria Alimentaria and Biocultura in Barcelona.
What kind of products do you get at Capitan Alga?
As already mentioned, part of the production is delivered to resellers in large bags.
Seaweed comes in a variety of forms for consumers.
- Fresh: That means washed and packed in 100g packs: sea spaghetti, kombu, sea lettuce and wakame. That’s an amount for two people. Keeps refrigerated for approx. 14 days.
- Salted: Similar to the fresh seaweed. However, the salt makes them last longer. They can be kept refrigerated for 6 months. There are sea spaghetti, kombu, codium, sea lettuce and wakame varieties.
- Dried: So dehydrated and therefore preserved for a long time. When using it, be aware that the seaweed absorbs a lot of water and swells. So well suited for soups, sauces, stews, etc. There are the varieties codium, sea spaghetti, kombu and wakame.
- Frozen: Sergio told us that this is a peculiarity of Vigo. The port is focused on frozen products and there are also trucks for long-distance transport of frozen products. As a result, frozen seaweed is also delivered to Italy, France and Germany. In the beginning, bulk buyers were supplied. For consumers nowadays available are sea spaghetti, kombu, codium, sea lettuce and wakame.
- In brine: In the jar in brine there is sea lettuce, wakame, kombu and sea spaghetti. Just drain and enjoy. The seaweed in the jar lasts 4 years.
Recipe tip from Sergio
Sea spaghetti in oil and garlic is a very quick dish.
For more recipes go to Capitan Alga’s homepage. You can find the link in the info box below. A tip from me. Use Google Chrome! There you can have the page translated into English.
I tried Sea Spaghetti Alio Olio. So that it didn’t become a snack, I combined it with classic spaghetti. It’s very easy and very tasty. The sea spaghetti gives the dish a light sea note. Try it!
What are Sergio’s plans for the future?
In river estuaries in Galicia one often sees platforms floating in the water on which mussels are farmed. Sergio has something similar in mind for seaweed. He wants to grow them on ropes using these platforms.
Sergio, the founder of Capitan Alga, is insanely dedicated and has built a company with a variety of products in a short period of time.
The products are natural and of organic quality. An enrichment for our diet.
In our opinion, seaweed is a product that brings us one step closer to the nutrition of the future.
Info – Capitan Alga
Address: Av. do Aeroporto, 45, 36206 Vigo, Spain
Phone: +34 986 630 577
Social media links of Capitan Alga
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