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From Devastation to Innovation: How Anguilla’s Natural Resources Sparked a Unique Business Venture

When self-made businessman and entrepreneur Josveek Huligar began picking himself up after the devastation of Hurricane Irma, he realized that Anguilla had two natural resources which could be used to make small and easily transportable gifts for tourists: sand and salt. Working with local craftspersons, he fashioned a line of assorted jewellery, filled with sand from the various beaches, and opened the tiny boutique called Anguilla Sands and Salts. He was also determined to make something of the island’s long history with the salt industry.

In 1624, a Dutch sea captain noticed a “salt pan with enough salt for two or three ships a year in Anguilla.” That was the beginning of a salt harvest that lasted almost four centuries until it collapsed in 1985. The ponds were abandoned, including the largest, the 240-acre Road Pond. When Mr. Huligar started to investigate, he discovered that the pond infrastructure had deteriorated: salt in the ponds was contaminated with urban run-off and could not safely be used. Now, he gathers unpolluted seawater in large drums, puts it through an evaporation process and the result is pure sea salt.

As well as selling the salt in various forms, from small containers suitable for hostess gifts to large jars and travel-ready packages, Mr. Huligar has also developed a secret recipe for infusing the salt with different flavors. The essence of onion, garlic, curry, red pepper, jalapeño, espresso, rosemary and thyme tinges the actual salt crystals, offering an amazing burst of flavor when sprinkled on snacks or used in cooking.

From martini Mondays to Marguerita Thursdays, every afternoon is a reason to celebrate at Anguilla Sands and Salts’ outdoor patio, which also offers tasty snacks. Salt-picking expeditions are being offered by other operators during the dry summer months when the salt can successfully be harvested by hand. Tourists are taken in small groups to the furthest extremities of the ponds where the salt remains free from pollution. It’s a unique way to create a memorable souvenir of an outstanding Anguilla vacation.