Where would we be without salt? – James Beard
Back in 2010, our founder Mark Overbay was in his kitchen creating the very first batches of handmade nut butter to sell at the Carrboro, NC, farmers market. Across the country in Portland, OR, Ben Jacobsen – inspired by the Maldon salts he tasted while pursuing his business degree in Copenhagen – began making sea salt from water pulled out of the Netarts Bay. The two crossed paths in those early days and became friends and allies who share a dedication to craft, quality, and sustainability. They kept in touch over the years, waiting for the opportune time to work together.
In late 2016, that time finally arrived. After reconnecting at the Good Food Mercantile, they began planning a collaboration. Several months and test batches later, a Jacobsen Salt Co. + Big Spoon Roasters limited edition two-pack of nut butters made its debut. Each butter highlighted nuts from each respective producer’s home state: NC peanuts and OR hazelnuts, Bee Local honey (a honey business Jacobsen acquired in 2015), and of course, beautiful flakes of Jacobsen Sea Salt. The result was delicious and developed a cult following. When the limited edition ended, we bided our time until we could revisit this special salt.
It is always our goal to continually search for a better, more transparent, more sustainable, and more delicious source for every ingredient. The salt we used for years from the Trapani Coast in Italy met all of our standards, and we were proud to have it as an ingredient. However, the pristine waters of the four-mile-long Netarts Bay (a protected estuary where Jacobsen source their salt), combined with Jacobsen’s careful two-week production process, result in a salt with incredible flavor and texture. We knew we wanted it to be a part of all our recipes, but of course, such artisanal quality comes with a price and to buy the amount we needed for our relatively small production wasn’t financially viable without raising prices. After wrapping up our most successful year to date, we are so thrilled to report that production has scaled up and we’ve finally made the switch! All of our nut butters now feature Jacobsen Sea Salt and we couldn’t be happier!