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Jul 14, 2009 12:20 PM

Local salt farms?

anybody know if there are any local salt farms in the bay area or any place where they harvest salt?

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  1. I believe all the salt farms at the south end of the Bay are all operated by Cargill.

    1. Cargill has had a large salt pond operation in the south bay
      Before Cargill bought them, Leslie salt was the big producer in the area.
      However most, if not all, of those ponds have been converted to wildlife refuges and marinas.

      8 Replies
      1. re: paulj

        Actually, I'm surprised no one has started a boutique salt farm yet. Although I guess the areas that could be used are pretty limited and the few that would be available would be cost-prohibitive.

        But yes, although over the years a lot of the south bay salt ponds have been returned to wetlands, there are still quite a few, including some visible from the approach to the Dumbarton Bridge. If Cargill was on the ball, they'd make that in to boutique operation to satisfy all the local locavores.

        1. re: Ruth Lafler

          Cargill produces "California sea salt" with no additives. Looking at the list of plants on their Web site, I think that must come from Newark or Redwood City.

          1. re: Ruth Lafler

            Knowing what's in the bay, would it sell to locals?

            1. re: ML8000

              I was thinking the same thing, but I imagine they don't produce salt during the winter, and that's when the nasty runoff from our greasy streets and furry friend anointed sidewalks is rushing into the bay. Maybe during summer months the water is clean-ish?

              I'm guessing Cargill's California sea salt ends up in Trader Joe's sea salt or similar generic sea salts.

              1. re: SteveG

                Cargill does not, as far as I can tell, market direct to consumer. Seems to me that Cargill woudl be unlikely to venture into boutique products like a premium sea salt. Frankly, with the water quality issues in the S.Bay, I doubt anyone could really delelop a premium brand from that source.

                Their sea salt products are described here:

                1. re: SteveG

                  I believe the mercury and selenium come from semiconductor factories.

                  Cargill produces the Diamond Crystal kosher salt that many chefs and foodies prefer.

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    If I recall, a lot of the mercury and selenium actually came down from Gold Country during the gold rush, mining, blasting, etc., and again with modern mining. Regardless, it's in the bay.

                  2. re: SteveG

                    Don't forget that a lot of salt is used for industrial purposes,including salting highways in winter.

                    TJ is as likely to get its sea salt from some French source as a California one. It is still importing frozen French green beans.

            2. There may have been something on the Monterey Bay also. Salinas is a Spanish word the often refers to salt works.

                1. There is a salt farm on Seaport in Redwood City, not sure what its used for or the company. I drive by it everyday on my way to work.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: adog

                    Cargill owns all the remaining salt farms around the Bay.