Sea Salts of Hawaii joined John Veneri by Zoom from the Kona Salt Farm in another Hawaii Island story on Living808. 

The first thing John asked Melanie Kelekolio, Chief Salt Maker and Operations Manager, was what makes this salt different from others.

“It is the only salt in the world that is made from deep ocean water of this kind. 2,200 feet, ultra-pristine and mineral rich. This water traveled for 900 years in deep ocean currents before reaching Hawaii. If you ever get a chance, come by the salt farm and taste the deep ocean water, amazing how different it tastes from surface water. We solar evaporate and hand harvest our salt but we bring old practices and new technologies together.  The area we are in, Keahole Point was settled about 900 years ago, it is part of an area that has been used by Hawaiians for salt gathering for centuries. It also is one of the sunniest places in the Hawaiian Islands.”

And the process is as interesting as where it’s from.

“We draw deep ocean water from 2,200 feet below the surface and we let it naturally evaporate under the sun until it is ready to harvest 4-6 weeks. Different minerals crystalize at different rates, the key is knowing the exact precise time when to harvest. Mel is our Chief Salt Maker and Operations Manager, she has been doing this for a long time and can exactly tell the best time. After we harvest, we let the salt rest for 3 more weeks which makes the taste even milder. We are required by Food Regulations to heat it for 10 minutes but that is all there is, there are no other ingredients or processes at all. It is just completely 100% pure.”

The farm also provides tours and Ipolani Morgan is the lead tour guide.

“We share the story of salt and its cultural significance in Hawaii with both kamaʻāina and visitors. They learn about what makes deep ocean water so special, we have a little fountain where guests can touch the water as it comes to the surface after traveling for 900 years and also feel how cold it is. We show them how much knowledge goes into knowing when to harvest, it is influenced by so many factors, weather, season, length of day, cloud cover, volcanic activity… how salt will crystalize or flake under different conditions. We invite guests into our prototype “hot house” to see for themselves.  Guests get to do a tasting of our different salts and flavored salts, fresh Hawaiian chili peppers, herbs, our smoked salt and more.“

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