SALT you say…in West Virginia? Who knew?

I can be a snob… Well, let me get more specific…I can be a snob about certain things.

Like salt.

NO Morton’s on my delicious red tomatoes or juicy watermelon.

yep, I’m a SALT SNOB

So, one day I was reading through the Facebook posts when I saw a local restaurant announcing that they would be featuring SALT that was produced in West Virginia!

SALT you say…in West Virginia?  Who Knew?

Well, obviously I would have known if I had taken more time in school to study my West Virginia History.

Honestly, I was there in body – not in mind!

I was amazed and astonished…and it’s rare that I am both of those at the same time!

So, I started reading about this unique product of our wild and wonderful state.

Evidently, there is a vast saline reservoir under the Kanawha Valley -actually it is an ancient, untouched sea called the Iapetus Ocean (predating the Atlantic) trapped below the Appalachian mountains.




Turns out that from the War of 1812 to the Civil War, the West Virginia salt producers made fortunes…employing over 200 people!  By the 1850s, there were hundreds of wells along the river producing more than three million bushels of salt per year, making Kanawha Valley the largest salt producing region of the United States.  In 1851, “The Great Kanawha Salt” was awarded “The Best Salt in The World” at the World’s Fair in London.




Alas, times changed – other salt sources became available, more options in transportation occurred and a devastating flood hit that area of our state.

And the salt monopoly that existed…well, it disappeared…known only to those conscientious students who studied their WV History in Mr. Hill’s 8th grade class at Ripley Jr. High.

Fast forward…and meet brother and sister Nancy Bruns and Lewis Payne, whose ancestors were the Dickinson’s  – who first drilled for brine in 1817 (J. Q. Dickinson in fact – thus the name).





Last year, they drilled a well  – about 345 feet – and got the same level of salt as an ocean.


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Using wooden rakes…and the hot sun……and without the use of machinery or chemicals  the brine turns magically into salt!

Fast forward again…to a couple of months ago…when I recovered from being amazed and astonished – to the point that I could call J. Q. Dickenson Salt – and speak to Nancy.

Now add EXCITED to the amazement and astonishment I was already feeling!  I knew that I wanted to add this product to the list of WV items we carry at The Vintage Lady.

Our first case of jars arrived – and then we had to order another case…then another case…


You get the picture!  If salt could fly…well, it actually can – at least it is flying off our shelves!

EXCITED again!

And the taste?  Well, yes, salty….but with texture…and a cleanness, a purity.  You’re not going to douse that juicy red tomato in it…you’re just going to sprinkle it… and then your taste buds are going to do a happy dance for sure!

Completely organic…naturally derived…and best yet –

TOTALLY West Virginia produced!

It doesn’t get any better than that!

SALT you say…in West Virginia?  Who Knew?

Well, old J. Q. Dickenson did….and now you do too!





And…my apologies to Mr. Hill from 8th grade WV History – I should have paid more attention!







1 Comment on SALT you say…in West Virginia? Who knew?

  1. Jen Rolston
    June 12, 2014 at 11:35 am (3 years ago)

    That’s a great story! Obviously, I didn’t may much attention in my class, either. I’ll be heading over soon to pick some up!!


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