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Our Story

From humble beginnings

Let’s kick off by telling you a little more about my journey within the snail industry and why I decided to take the route I have.

I am a Somatologist by profession and during a session with a client one morning she asked me - just out of interest if I knew that there is currently a Worldwide shortage of snails?

As for most of you, this came as a big surprise!  Not because of the shortage but because one never really thinks about snails and where they actually come from.  You just know they are there on the menu as well as the occasional shelf at the supermarket.

I was curious and investigated this a bit more, and it was true!  I came across articles like; “There is an average shortfall of 100,000 tons of snail meat in Europe each year” by the ‘Irish Mirror’ to name but one.

As a Somatologist working for myself, I was very aware, every day, by the fading strength in my arms, that if I don’t physically work in my job then there is no income.  This also made family vacations extra expensive. 

It led me to spend some time investigating other income streams which I could start alongside my current business.  One I could grow and then later, develop into a full-time business when the time comes.  One I could manage and can continue on it's own if I need to take a break.

In March 2019 I started with just over 300 (then called) Helix Aspersa Muller snails collected from two of my friend’s gardens as well as a stranger’s veggie garden. These garden snails were heading for certain death.

I could not find any helpful information to guide me on any aspect of snail farming in South-Africa.  There was only limited mention of snail farming methods abroad and also, mainly, up in Africa where they only breed the Giant African land snail.

I needed to learn best practice snail farming as would be applicable here in South-Africa. So, I decided to start and learn with my 300 handpicked “Helix Aspersa Mullers”.  This way I at least had nothing to lose, other than my own ego.

For a year and 2 months and with the help of my father, a retired building contractor and my incredibly supportive husband as sponsor we tried and tested various housing methods for the snails.  We built, assembled broke down and tried again.  It was frustrating and we paid a lot of school fees – or should I say my poor husband did.

We also made our own supplement feed, visited nurseries to scout for plants the snails would favor and planted vegetable gardens.  I also learned how to deal with

everything that treated my snail house as a full a-la-carte buffet in a 5-star restaurant.

My 300 snails grew to uncountable thousands, and I finally found a recipe that worked – for me!  Just over a year later I was ready to finally brave taking on my first Cornu aspersum maximus (Helix aspersa Maximus) and implement it all on a bigger scale. 

Then the world got locked down!

As bad as lockdown affected us all it did allow my husband and I the time and focus and to set up the infrastructure I then knew worked for me. 

I could only obtain Cornu aspersum maximus eggs during that time, and it was also all my dwindling budget allowed for during lockdown with no income.

We also took our feed to the next level, as the feed available at the time produced copious amounts of faeces that simply made snail farming unmanageable for me.  The animal feed industry could fully operate during lockdown, and in the lab of my niece and with lots of trials at The Snail House, our own brand of feed took shape and was ready, after more than 6 months of development, to feed our new flock in November of 2020.  By then I had a fully functional snail farm with 12,500 Helix Asparsa Maximus breeders, grown from eggs, and ready to produce the next generation with the best feed available on the market.

Almost a year later, with things going to plan, I found myself rushing around showing and teaching potential start-up farmers the basics and what-ever it was they could not find on Google.

I helped and assisted other already-set-up-farmers how to manage and master things they were struggling with, like egg production and hatching, and I was meeting with potential farmers who were at the stage where they wanted to see what it entailed and if it is indeed viable enough to investing in.

Some were lovely to talk to and share time and information with, and many lasting relationships were formed.  Others left me exhausted and drained as I felt violated by the amount of video footage and pictures they would take during their visit for “assistance”.  All with zero interest in sharing anything from their side.

My farm was starting to suffer as precious time I could have spent working at and in my own business was spent helping others make a success of theirs. The same went for my staff.  There was no time for anything new or any development on the farm as everything always had to be showroom ready for the constant flow of between 4 -5 sets of people arriving for a tour and information sessions each week.

I love helping people and seeing them succeed, I just needed to find a better way to do it.

And so, The Snail House online shop that could assist new and fellow farmers in their business was born.  I realized there was a greater need for assistance than production and this way I could make a difference in the Snail industry in South-Africa.  I could help prospective, new and fellow farmers from the start with the correct training through Snail Farming Training Modules all the way from sourcing and providing a range of products they will need to set up a successful snail farming business.

With the correct training they would avoid all the trials and errors I had to endure that cost us dearly in school fees, time and frustration.  I could save them time by sourcing everything they would need at more affordable rates for the farmer in order for them to come to one place and get assistance from A-Z in snail farming.

Through this I discovered there were a lot of amazing products that could benefit not only the snail farmer but other farmers as well as the general public and the online shop is making this available to everyone.

The Deli and Retail shop allows everyone the opportunity to experience the world of snail farming as well as what snail farming has to offer in South-Africa. 

The Snail House strives to grow, show more and allow more and more people to enjoy the abundance our snails have to offer.

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