Underneath the Appalachian mountains in West Virginia lies the Iapetus Ocean. It's an ancient ocean, pre-dating the Atlantic and it's trapped far beneath the ground. In Malden, West Virginia the Dickinson family began mining that trapped ocean nearly two hundred years ago to make salt in the Kanawha Valley. Through the family's efforts and the efforts of other farms in the valley the area became the largest salt producing region of the United States.
And then it was mostly forgotten. Until brother and sister Nancy Burns and Lewis Payne decided to bring the pristine brine back to the surface and turn it into sea salt. By pumping the brine into large shallow pans located in a greenhouse on their land, the siblings slowly evaporate the water from the brine, leaving the clean white salt crystals behind.
The salt is gathered with special wooden tools and jarred by hand. It's a labor of love to be sure, but the result is a wonderful finishing salt that can rival the finest fleur de sels in the world.