Eastern Home & Travel May/June 2017 - Page 37

TASTINGS WEST VIRGINIA—HOME TO THE SALT OF THE EARTH B Y S H U A N B U TC H E R In 1817, Nancy Bruns’ ancestors started drilling for brine in the Kanawha River Valley in what was then Virginia (now West Virginia). Seven generations later, she and her brother, Lewis Payne, have picked up where the salt-making family left off. At J.Q. Dickinson Salt Works, located in Malden, W.Va., salt is once again being produced on the same land where the Dickinson family garnered it 200 years ago. In the past, the end use of the salt was primarily industrial; today it is an agricultural product. The high-quality artisanal salt seasons and finishes everything from grilled steak to salmon to popcorn. This is not your ordinary table salt. Harvested naturally by hand, the product hails from an ancient sea under the Appalachian Mountains. Rich in minerals with no additional preservatives or artificial additives, their salt truly reminds you of the purity of the Earth. Some bestsellers are cooking salts, such as heirloom, smoked or ramp, but the salt grinders and popcorn salt are great, too. To produce the salt, brine comes out of the ground, where it is poured into beds that are essentially located inside greenhouses. The sun then takes over the process, evaporating the water until the only thing left is a crystal-white salt. EASTERN HOME & TRAVEL 37