Before moving the water to harvest the coarse salt, the flower is delicately skimmed from the surface using a “lousse” (a special rake for flower of salt). Several decades ago, this work was done by women and children.

This operation, whilst delicate, is not particularly complicated, and only requires extra hands to go faster. Even a beginner can collect good quality flower of salt, and this task is often delegated. On average, an “oeillet” produces 2 kg of flower of salt per day.

Once the flower of salt has been harvested, the coarse salt can be collected from the water at the bottom or the “mother” of the marsh. Before collection, the salt worker feeds the “oeillets” with water by opening the “ademe”, with water flowing through the “délivre” (small channel), which provides the brine necessary for salt formation for the next day. This operation of supplying water is called “douiller” or “dourer” from the Breton word “dour” meaning water.

The salt worker pushes the water contained in the “oeillet” (using a tool known as a “lasse” – essentially rectangular planks with a long handle), thus moving the salt to the central platform called the “ladure”.

The salt is then pulled towards this platform, and hauled up to form a “ladurée” or salt pile. The operation to haul the salt out of the water onto the “ladure” was traditionally done by the salt workers, using a “boutoué” (a smaller tool made of rectangular planks and a long handle). This more strenuous task was reserved for men. The operation requires know-how, skill and physical effort – the salt’s quality depends on it, and the task cannot be delegated. The gesture must be accurate, delicate and strong; the action is well codified, and few salt workers today can do it as well as those from the town of Batz ! It takes years of apprenticeship to be authorised to carry out the harvest or “take the marsh”.

This coarse salt is formed of grey-coloured crystals of varied size, depending on the weather conditions.

50 to 70 kg of coarse or grey salt are harvested per day, per “oeillet”.

The salt drains on the “ladure”, then is transferred by wheelbarrow (in the past, the salt was carried on the head), and put into piles called “mulons” on the “trémet” (platform at the edge of the salt works).

Finally it is transported from the platforms by agricultural machines to be stored in the “salt stores” or covered silos.