Di Bruno Bros. recently started carrying sea salt harvested from an ocean deep beneath the Appalachian Mountains in West Virginia. It’s been made by one family for seven generations.
The saltwater ocean was trapped beneath the rocks more than 400 million years ago as the mountains formed. In the early 1800s, as residents of West Virginia’s Kanawha Valley learned of the saltwater springs, William Dickinson began drilling for brine and launched a salt business.
For a time, the area became the nation’s biggest salt producer, and in 1851 Kanawha salt was even recognized with an international award. In the 1950s, with demand flagging, the business stopped producing — until 2013, when descendants of Dickinson’s relaunched the company under the name J.Q. Dickinson Salt Works.
The salt is drawn from the earth using a brine aquifer, harvested by hand, and processed naturally using sunlight and wind. Crystals of the original “heirloom” salt have a crunchy, almost clean taste, but it’s also available as finishing salts infused with flavors of ramps or smoke. — Allison Steele