Alaska Pure Sea Salt

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Elizabeth Thompson

Elizabeth Thompson › Elizabeth Thompson is a writer and photographer. She lives in Alaska with her husband and their ...


Alton Brown is enamored of it. Holly Smith considers it a staple. Jason Wilson has used it since 2007. Jon Sundstrom even uses it while traveling! The Foodie Elites of the Pacific Northwest are talking about Alaska Pure Sea Salt because of its clean flavor and consistently perfect crystals. Not only does it taste great, it is beautiful to look at.

The Meadow sells it and they say:

Alaska Pure sea salt is a pyramidal finishing salt that does not have any of the bitterness associated with table salt. It is a delicate flake that crumbles easily between the fingers, adds a pleasant textural element, and enhances the flavor of your meals.

On a beautiful spring day in Sitka, Alaska I met Jim Michener, the man who crafts this salt, on the seashore. While he filled his tank truck with sea water pulled from the pristine depths of Sitka Sound he told me the romantic story of how he and his wife Darcy stumbled on their shared passion for producing North America’s first flake sea salt.

On their first anniversary, eleven years ago, Jim and Darcy left a pan of sea water on the wood-stove of the remote cabin they were celebrating in. In the morning they noticed fleur de sel forming on the surface of the water. They tried it and thought it was pretty good. It became a tradition to make some “anniversary salt” for the year.

When the tank was full Jim and I jumped in our cars and headed to the sparklingly clean warehouse where the magic happens. As it turned out, crafting a fine salt was not as simple as boiling away the water. There are plenty of things in the sea water that you don’t want in your salt. To remove them took years of experimentation, trial and error.

Jim explains, “In 2005 we got serious. We had a dream to produce North America’s first flake style sea salt. The process brought out the science nerd in me as I tenaciously tried to create the perfect pyramidal flake, and the chef wannabe in Darcy as she experimented with flavors and infusions. It didn’t happen fast, and it wasn’t easy. Over the course of 6 years, we carried thousands of heavy water jugs up steep harbor ramps, considered marriage counseling several times, and had to replace a rusted out stainless steel range hood. Happily, this eventually lead to a refined product that we are proud to share with others.”

In 2008, they began supplying salt to some of the nation’s best chefs and now it is available to you! Jim says, “Alaska Pure Sea Salt is created with a passion for great food, wild places, pristine water, and of course, each other. We hope you enjoy our salt with as much enthusiasm as we have for producing it.”

Jim gave me samples of the three salts they produce: Original Sitka Flake, Alder Smoked, and Wild Blueberry Infused. I went back down to the harbor where the fleet was awaiting the start of the Sitka Sac Roe Herring Fishery. Suddenly visitors were stopping by our boat regularly. I thought I was popular for a minute, but then noticed everyone kept reaching for the salt…

Have you tried Alaska Pure Sea Salts yet? What’s your favorite kind?

Photo Credit: Alaska Pure Sea Salt