salt farmers & stall holders
Salt Farmers In the early morning twilight, the saltmakers descend the gently sloping beach to the ocean's edge. A hand-carved yolk upon which hangs two buckets fashioned from the sinewy leaves of the Lontar Palm is carried over their shoulders. Wading out into the calm blue waters, the buckets are filled and the saltmakers climb up the gentle slope to sow their seeds in the waiting beds of sand. Just as a farmer prepares his seedbed with intense Zen artistry, the saltmaker rakes his black sand beds to perfection. For once the bed is smooth like glass, the saltwater is sprinkled over the top and the seed of salt is sown. The collection of brine is a slow process and involves many periods of leaching and resting to ensure the removal of all sediments. Once enough of the brine is collected, the saltmaker must raise his eyes to the sky to wait for proper signs - a freak storm on an otherwise sunny day can destroy a harvest in one second flat. The saltmaker must be absolutely sure. The brine evaporates in halved bamboo timbers under tropical sun. The evaporation process can take anywhere from 1-3 days. The resulting salt grains are harvested young, so their fragile crystalline structures can be layered into bamboo skin cones and allowed to drain. Hand-crafting Balinese sea salts is an incredibly slow and labor-intensive process. Each small batch requires weeks of hand panning and grading to produce the perfect grain. 1
Wetting the sandbeds before raking.
A salt farmer having a wash.
Watching the work.
A woman, seated on the beach below the sand beds, making cigarettes to sell at a market
Stall Holders Mick drove us to Ubud on Saturday and on the way we stopped at Sukawati Market. Mainly acting as a produce market for the locals, with a smattering of textiles, the place was energetic and seemed a long way from the tourist hubs. All but the older women were happy for me to take some shots of them. I was escorted through the place by a trader who gratefully accepted the 50,000 rupiah fee she told me I owed her at the end of our trek through the stalls.
A citrus seller, sitting by the stairway.
Salt Farmers & Stall Holders
Published on Jul 2, 2009