San Juan Island Sea Salt

Brady Ryan is hooked on salt, and it is not your typical tableside ingredient. This salt is made from the waters of the Salish Sea and hand-harvested at his salt farm on San Juan Island.

“Being a salt farmer is a continual learning process,” says Ryan. “The more I understand what I like about salt, the more I play with ways to develop the salt for moisture content and crystal size.”

Ryan opened San Juan Island Sea Salt in 2012. Seven years later, their line of products includes culinary salts, bath salts, and honey.

A PASSION FOR SALT

Ryan’s fondness for salt began in childhood when he saw it crystallizing along the shoreline of San Juan Island. The process fascinated him so much that one year he and a friend made salt for Christmas presents. After hours of boiling seawater on the stove, they discovered it was a messy endeavor and consumed a lot of electricity.

“That day of making salt always stuck in my mind,” says Ryan. “After working on a vegetable farm and building a lot of greenhouses, I thought I could use greenhouses to harness solar power and make salt the simple way.”

Salt production happens during the summer months and the seawater is “evaporated all the way down” to bring out its natural trace minerals and flavors. Post-production includes flake extraction, grinding, and sifting. Each year, the harvest yields between 5,000 and 7,000 pounds.

PASS THE SALT, PLEASE

There are more than two dozen sea salt products, and everything can be purchased on their website or in retail shops around the state such as Salt & Vine in Anacortes, the Skagit Valley Co-Op in Mount Vernon and the Community Food Coop in Bellingham.

Items include natural salt (6-oz. jar, $12) and flake salt ($15), and blended salts, such as popcorn blend ($12), lemon pepper blend ($12), and madrona smoked (6-oz. jar, $15). With their 25 beehives, they make sweeter items like honey, lip balms, and honey-salted caramels.

To meet the team, swing by their booth at the San Juan Island Farmers Market on Saturdays (May to December), and the Ballard Farmers Market on Sundays (June through September), and select local holiday farmers markets.

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San Juan Island
360.840.3202 | sanjuanislandseasalt.com

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"'Being a salt farmer is a continual learning process.'"