Robert Kirkland from the Monterey Bay Salt Co. doesn’t have any ordinary job. Not only does he run a salt farm in California's Salinas Valley, where he's licensed to commercially harvest salt water from the Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary, but he is the manager of the six-month-old salt house at Carmel Valley Ranch.
When, if ever, did you hear about a salt house these days, a place where salt is homemade? Using unprocessed homemade sea salt in their dishes and spa treatments, Carmel Valley Ranch is the paragon of farm-to-table, with the salt house right in its backyard.
"At The Ranch we live farm-to-table, so we thought, why not sprinkle our home-grown, organic veggies with our own natural sea salt?" said Will Schaeffler, marketing coordinator at Carmel Valley Ranch in a note to The Daily Meal. "Staying true to our values, our salt is completely unprocessed and, unlike standard table salt, contains no additives. It has virtually no carbon footprint, as it is locally sourced and is never mined. The Ranch Sea Salt is truly the salt of the Earth!"
Chef Tim Wood experiments with the salt in various crystallization stages, adding a natural zest to every dining experience. How is the salt made, you ask? Simple. Pour salt water into a drying rack and wait three weeks. That’s it. Suddenly sea salt. Sometimes garlic and chile are added for flavor, but for the most part it is the simplest of processes.
In a world that is desperate to return to the farm, Carmel Valley Ranch has come back to a simple and laudable enterprise that is worth a visit just to see.