DUXBURY (CBS) — Duxbury was once the largest and most famous ship-building center of the world. Duxbury Beach used to be Salters Beach, where colonists harvested the mineral for survival.
These days, Duxbury Saltworks carries on the tradition.
“Time, temperature, it’s a blend of science and art,” said CEO Lilly Leedom. She got the idea a few years ago while living close to the bay.
“I would grab buckets of water, haul them in my car, sloshing all around,” she told WBZ.
Leedom had no prior knowledge of how to make sea salt or any experience in the food industry, but after many kitchen experiments, she figured out the right formula.
“Very quickly I realized, there’s a business here. We had a very pure, clean, fluffy, feathery flake that melted in your fingers and then onto your food.”
Water from Duxbury Bay is unique and ideal for salt-making. It’s home to 40 million oysters that filter the water constantly. That water is pumped directly into Duxbury Saltworks and filtered. Then, it undergoes the evaporation process.
Master Salt Harvester Brooke Bradley has been trained to know exactly when the flakes are ready to be scooped from evaporation tanks. The top layer of salt that forms in a tank is called “Fleur de sel,” French for “flower of salt,” and Bradley says it’s the best kind of flakes. “I put a little on my palette here and I spread it all out so each crystal can form its own potential and make its own beautiful shape. If I have a really beautiful pyramid, I love to put it on my tongue and feel the magic,” Bradley explained.
From there, salt crystals head into a drying oven at a very specific humidity level and for a specific time. When they’re done, flakes shimmer and sparkle like snow.
The company is 100% women-owned and operated. Fifteen women on staff do everything from harvesting to hand-packing each jar, which are finished off with upcycled gold-rimmed oysters from the bay. “It’s a great tie in to the community, to the bay and it also has that double purpose of the salt dish,” said Leedom.
Duxbury Saltworks has been thriving during the pandemic with so many people cooking from home. The company is currently renovating its facility and sometime in 2021, people will be able to go on tours to observe the salt making process and purchase the bottled flakes on site.
“Every day when we walk in the first thing all of us see is the beautiful bay and I think that really connects us back to the roots of where our products come from. Whether it’s the scent or the view of the feel of the salt air, I think it’s really inspiring and I try to take moment each day to sit and look at the water and be thankful for the fact that we have this beautiful bay in our backyard,” said Leedom.