27 June 2013

Salt: It's Elemental

Salt. It amplifies everything it graces and is truly the ultimate building block of flavor. That’s why we are thrilled to announce that Jacobsen Salt Co. will be joining our PSU Market once a month. Their flaky crystals of pure sea salt are hand-harvested right from the coastal waters of Netarts Bay–as local as it gets!  Learn more below and do stop by their market booth the last Saturday of each month to sample some straight-from-the-sea salty goodness. You will taste the difference.


By Sana Goldberg, Jacobsen Salt Co.

We have been counting down the days until our first official appearance at the Portland Famer’s Market. After building display cases from a salvaged fence, special ordering freshly baked baguettes for samples, and breaking in our crisp white tent, we are ready to bring Jacobsen salt to the people!

Over the years, we have watched the many ways the Portland Farmer’s Market has brought our community together—elevating the culinary scene, impacting restaurant and home kitchen sourcing, and changing the way we think about food. We couldn’t be happier or prouder to be joining the efforts this Saturday, surrounded by many of the finest artisans and producers in the Northwest.

A quick loop around the market on Saturday mornings is all a shopper needs to see the bounty of Oregon. Concentrated within the quad of the PSU campus are baskets of shining bell peppers, slender garlic whips, peonies of all colors, and lavender-infused honey. There are exotic mushrooms foraged in the early hours of the morning, the butcher’s secreto, eggs with deep orange yolks, and, if you get there in time, the most fragrant Seascape strawberries of the season. In case you can’t already tell, we love food, and know what a difference it makes in taste and quality to eat locally and with the seasons.

Four years ago, amidst this blossoming Portland food scene, Ben Jacobsen set out to procure the one ingredient that was missing from our local larder: salt. Humans have harvested salt nearly as long as we’ve walked the earth. Made from water, fire, and time, it is perhaps the most elemental ingredient that we encounter. There is nothing more primal or simple, and Ben had a hunch it could be done in his own backyard. Well, Oregon’s backyard anyways.

benjacobsenAfter retracing the path of Lewis and Clark, toting home ocean water to make batches of salt on his kitchen stove, Ben settled in on the perfect source: the cold waters of Netarts Bay. Finding the right ocean source is akin to a winemaker finding the best grapes. The next move? Hauling tens of thousands of pounds of water over the pass from Netarts to Portland for harvesting. A true feat in logistics, Ben rented a moving truck and borrowed 275-gallon wine totes from a friend. With up to six of these totes, the truck kept getting larger and larger. At that point, we knew we needed a facility on the coast, and finally settled into an old oyster farm on the bay in December 2012, with build out just recently completed. This new salt facility, the first of its kind in the country, is putting us on the path to rekindle an industry and bring jobs to coastal communities like Tillamook and Netarts while creating the best hand-harvested sea salt around.

In the meantime, chefs and home cooks alike have begun to pay attention. Like Ben learned years ago while living in Scandinavia, a good flake salt is a game changer when it comes to food. Whether used to garnish eggs and toast at home in the morning or to finish one of April Bloomfield’s creations at The Breslin in New York City, a delicate, pure sea salt elevates dishes to the next level. And we believe it’s about time America had a salt to call its own!

jacobsenhatWe’ll be celebrating the company’s 2nd birthday in early August, and we couldn’t be more excited about the collaborations underway this summer and fall. Meanwhile, you can see our salt in action around the city: topping brownies at Little T American Baker, cupcakes at Saint Cupcake and Kouign Amann at Saint Honore, sprinkled over Apizza Scholls’ wait-worthy pies, finishing seasonal dishes at Ned Ludd, Ox, Clyde Common, and Departure, topping fries at Lardo and salt & pepper bagels at Speilman, and shining in Salt & Straw’s incredible ice cream creations.

For chefs both known and unknown who visit the market, we recommend using our salt to highlight the flavors of the season. Sprinkle it over one of Groundwork Organic’s thickly sliced heirloom tomatoes or Spring Hill’s gorgeous English cucumbers. Try our pinot noir salt on grilled veggies, fresh salads, or a perfectly marbled chop from Pono Farms. The newest addition to our infused flavors is the Regalis White Truffle in which the salt crystals are formed with Italian white truffle water–a beautiful medium for this sought-after flavor. Lastly, our vanilla bean salt is best tossed on chocolate chip cookies, and sparkles on fresh Maryhill peaches–Ruby Jewel is even making a special ice cream sandwich featuring our vanilla bean salt just for the market!

To find out our very favorite way to use Jacobsen salt, you’ll have to come visit our stand on Saturday. See you there!