My F&W
quick save (...)
American Flavor

Jacobsen Salt Co.: Small-Batch Brininess

Jacobsen Salt Co.

Hand-harvested in Oregon, Ben Jacobsen's salt is flavored with Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc, lemon zest and vanilla bean. Photo © Jannie Huang

The country's most talented artisans are turning out better versions of kitchen basics like granola, honey and sea salt.

Ben Jacobsen discovered great salt when he traveled abroad after college, buying it everywhere from Denmark to South Africa. "It transformed everything I put it on," he says. In 2009, a couple years after returning home to Oregon, he set out to make his own salt: "I figured that if Maldon comes from the UK, which has a similar climate to the Pacific Northwest, this had to be possible."

Jacobsen spent the next two-and-a-half years testing seawater in dozens of spots. "The taste and salinity of the salt varied incredibly," he says. "It was the same way that terroir affects wine." He finally settled on Netarts Bay, 80 miles west of Portland, hand-pumping seawater into plastic drums that he would transport to a commercial kitchen in the city, then painstakingly collecting flakes of salt by hand with a custom-made strainer.

Within a couple of years, Jacobsen had gone from producing three pounds of salt a week to 300, and his customer list had grown to include big-name chefs like Chris Cosentino, Thomas Keller and Paul Kahan. Recently, Jacobsen Salt Co. moved its seven employees into a 3,500-square-foot workspace on the Oregon coast. But its owner has no plans to alter his low-tech production methods. "The quality has to be there," he says. "That's why we're here." $3.50 for 0.2 oz; jacobsensalt.com

Related: Small-Batch Superstars
Lessons from Salt Guru Mark Bitterman
Great American Artisans

You Might Also Like powered by sheknows

Comments

Add A Comment

    Add a Comment

    See our terms
    You must be logged in to comment. or
    advertisement
    The Dish
    Receive delicious recipes and smart wine advice 4x per week in this e-newsletter.
    The Wine List Weekly pairing plus best bottles to buy.
    F&W Daily One sensational dish served fresh every day.
    advertisement

    Tune in on Wednesdays at 10PM ET for Top Chef: Boston, the 12th season of Bravo's Emmy-Award winning, hit reality series.

    Already looking forward to next year (June 19-21, 2015)? Relive your favorite moments from the culinary world's most sensational weekend in the Rocky Mountains.