Agricultural technique
Technique of obtaining salt by natural evaporation of sea water.
General maintenance of the “fares", carried out every 10 years by shovel.
From “boutoir”, a tool with the same shape as the "las”, but smaller, used for work in the spring and by women
Bridging lousse
Small and solid, used to remake the bridges in the spring
Solution saturated with salt. The sea contains around 35g of salt per litre whereas brine can contain 250 to 260 g/l depending on temperature conditions.
The channel which brings sea water into the salt marshes.
Small channel which enables water to be distributed to the oeillets.
Complete rebuilding of the bed and bridges of the oeillets, carried out every 20 to 30 years.
Small prism-shaped pottery vessels, which are designed to collect salt obtained from brine evaporation over a fire.
Crystallisation pond
Term used by people outside the profession, which is synonymous with “marais” (marsh) used by the salt workers; this is the final pond from which the water doesn’t leave, and where the harvest takes place. These rectangular ponds (7m by 10m), are on a human scale to enable harvesting by hand to take place, of around fifty kilos of salt crystallised during the day. Their number varies depending on the size of the salt works, but they represent around 10%. The greatest care is taken in their preparation. The middle must be very level (we talk about “galoche” or upper part), whilst the edge is a trough of 1-2 cm by 1.5m, to ensure the required volume of water for harvest.
Mounds of earth which are an integral part of the salt works and enable them to be marked out, also sometimes used as a road to transport the salt. Fairly rough, large ponds, designed to increase concentration to a high enough level to remove algae (“limu”) and crustaceans (“bigots”) - the salt worker’s enemies. This area is not mandatory, but very practical, and it appeared fairly late in the history of the salt marshes. It can typically represent 10% of the salt works.
Evaporation pond
Smaller ponds, and thus more adapted to the meticulous maintenance along the bends, enabling a regular flow of a fine film of water (1cm). They are as level as possible, with the exception of a small ditch (fossé) along the dykes or bridges (carrière). These are the most efficient ponds for the concentration of sea water. Their surface often increases the further away from the sea they are, and they represent 30 to 40% of the salt works.
Fire technique
Technique of obtaining salt by artificial evaporation of concentrated salt water.
Harvest salt on salt
Technique to scrape off only the upper level of salt before it becomes too hard. Technique used in very productive salt marshes due to their climate, but not in the Batz or Guérande basins, where salt is collected every day.
Harvesting lousse
Light with a very long handle, used to collect the flower of salt
Operation previously done by women, which consists of removing the salt from the water once it has been collected in front of the ladure, to allow it to drain several hours.
Institut National des Appellations d’Origine (National Institute for Origin designations)
A traditional tool used to harvest coarse grey salt, comprises a very long handle fixed perpendicularly to a sharpened wooden plank, called a “maille”.
Traditional tool (a kind of shovel) made of a handle and a board fixed obliquely.
Management organisation for a protected designation, who must be representative of the whole profession (producers, processors) and open to all.
Pick or gather
Harvest flower of salt, manually using a lousse.
Pile of salt
A pile of salt which drains naturally, and whose name comes from mule, the animal previously used for transport.
A small round platform placed in the middle of the largest bridge of the “oeillet” to enable the daily salt harvest to be stored and drained. A platform on the embankment of the salt works to store the salt after harvest.
Primary pool
A water reserve which supplies the salt works between tides (15 days), the largest part of the salt production site, mostly horizontal with a trough along its edge (“rai”) to allow cleaning. Its surface area may vary, but represents 40% of the salt works.
Reserve pond
These contain the water reserves for the day; concentration is close to saturation. Their surface reaches 8% of the salt works. The water flows out by a distribution channel (délivre) when the harvest takes place, as regulated by the salt worker.
Rock salt
Salt from salt mines, extracted using mining techniques.
The company which transports the salt from the producer’s salt works to the storage area.
Relates to salt production in the salt marshes.
Wooden or stone building used to store salt, replaces the traditional word of salt “magasin” (store)
Salt marsh
A dug-out basin near the coast to extract salt from sea water by evaporation.
Salt worker
An agricultural producer who harvests salt in the salt marshes.In the Guérande basin, the person who transports and sells the salt (false sauniers). This is also the name for salt workers on the Island of Ré and Noirmoutier
Salt works
Manmade basins and ponds, circled by an embankment, built from the naturally waterproof clay soils, more or less geometric, in which sea water circulates by gravity, then heats and evaporates naturally to achieve a high concentration leading to crystallisation.
Salt-tolerating, salt-liking
To like salt, when talking about living organisms which survive in a very salty environment.
A vast lagoon covered by the sea with the tides, from which sea water is channelled by gravity into the salt works.
To carry
In reference to the old technique of carrying on the head: every day, to bring the salt by wheelbarrow from the ladure to the trémet.
To take
Harvest the coarse salt