Meet A New Full Circle Producer: Jacobsen Salt
Full Circle is always looking for the best tastes from small producers in all of our delivery regions. We bring local food to local eaters by relentlessly searching for quality products. It all starts with our dedicated buying team – tasting, meeting new producers and trying a variety of products until they find the one that makes them go wow.
Once in awhile we really hit pay dirt and find a true artisan that deserves to be shared across all regions. We’ve been lucky to find one such artisan lately. This amazing producer is Jacobsen Salt, founded by proprietor Ben Jacobsen, he’s pulling the clean, fresh waters off the Oregon coast and making the finest finishing salt around.
We love Jacobsen Salt and are proud to offer Ben’s Pacific Northwest produced salt to our discerning members. Here’s a little more about him –
Ben Jacobsen owns and produces artisan hand-harvested sea salt at Jacobsen Salt Co., initially founded in Portland, Oregon and recently expanded to a facility located closer to the source in Netarts Bay, Oregon. Jacobsen Salt Co. harvests pure crystals straight from Oregon’s water in Netarts Bay to produce the finest artisan product.
Jacobsen’s relationship with food began with his mom’s spinach soufflé and memories of her making freshly baked bread at home in Vermont. His relationship with artisan salt, however, began in Denmark. He was studying there for an MBA when his girlfriend at the time fortuitously brought home a small package of finishing salt. It was a life-changing experience. As a student, he couldn’t afford many luxuries, but he could splurge on a small packet of good Scandinavian salt. Soon after, he brought finishing salt with him wherever he went.
After living between Denmark and Norway for four and a half years, Jacobsen returned to the Pacific Northwest. The Portland food scene had blossomed, with excellent local products and ingredients available, but the area was lacking a quality artisan salt. Not only was Portland missing such an integral ingredient, but the whole country was as well. He thought it was strange that no one had tapped into the resources available right in Portland’s backyard to produce a good American-made salt.
In 2009, he started to experiment. It took him two and a half years of trial and error before he finalized the product in 2011. Not only did Jacobsen need to perfect the process, but he also needed to use the best water in Oregon. “For me, finding the best water was just like a winemaker finding the best grapes,” he explains.
After much searching up and down the Oregon and Washington coastline, Jacobsen found Netarts Bay, an area already world-famous for oysters. In July 2011, he participated in a vendor fair at New Seasons Market with just a little bit of salt. When he found out New Seasons’ buyers wanted to order more than he had, he knew he needed to start a company. Jacobsen Salt Co. was officially created in August 2011. In just a few months, his salt was on the shelves at New Seasons and local chefs were using it to cook their favorite dishes.
” … If the sign of a good finishing salt is a balance of salinity and minerality, the flavor you find in a pinch of Jacobsen Salt is pitch-perfect, it tastes like it’s from a centuries-old European workshop instead of a start-up in the Pacific Northwest.” – Oliver Strand, New York Times
When he first started the company, Jacobsen hauled tens of thousands of pounds of water from Netarts to Portland in order to harvest the salt. He rented a moving truck and borrowed 275-gallon wine totes from a friend. With six of these totes at one point, the truck kept getting larger and larger. At that point, he knew he needed a facility on the coast, and he finally settled into an old oyster farm right in Netarts Bay in December 2012.
Jacobsen’s favorite dish on which he garnishes salt is simple—he likes to put the classic finishing salt on eggs and toast in the morning. He sees Jacobsen Salt Co. as an approachable, user-friendly luxury, which partly influenced the company’s small, pocket-sized salt tins. In his spare time, he likes to spend time with his dogs, cycle, be outdoors, and drink coffee inside on rainy Oregon days.