We are often asked what distinguishes Bulls Bay Sea Salt from other sea salts. To find the answer to what makes Bulls Bay Sea Salt so pure, we must go directly to the source of our main (and only) ingredient, seawater.
Standing on land as the tide comes in you can hear the shore come alive. This area is one of 20 Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network Sites of International Importance and the largest part of the Carolinian South Atlantic Biosphere Reserve.
Crabs scurry about and the spartina grass shines under thin veils of salt. Just several miles away the barrier islands are home to the largest nesting population of Loggerhead Sea Turtles North of Florida (Over 1750 nests this year!)
The State of South Carolina has designated the area as an Outstanding Resource Waters. Our water collection point is surrounded by the Francis Marion National Forest, a 400 square mile buffer for Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge.
We are proud to say that Bulls Bay Sea Salt comes from quite possibly the most pristine water source on the east coast of the United States.
The salt water covers millions of bivalves filtering the water and acting as indicator species for the health of the ecosystems. Think clams and oysters! Each oyster can filter between 20-50 gallons of water per day. This video shows them in action: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=saAy7GfLq4w
Producing in small batches allow us to closely monitor and harvest at ideal times and to utilize basic chemistry to separate the different salts that form and collect only the best flavor to be bottled.
We try to remove all of the calcium sulphate salt, (AKA gypsum) that forms first. The oysters and clams do us a favor by removing some of those calcium ions from the water when they grow their shells! As the water solar evaporates, it is relatively easy to skim this salt off the top of the water as it forms.
Gypsum can have a chalky taste and removing it purifies the taste of the final product. The next salt that comes out of solution (grows crystals) is what most people think of as edible salt, NaCl. Once most of the water has evaporated we pour off the remaining liquid and harvest the salt. That liquid, also called the bitters, is pretty fun to experiment with. There are all sorts of neat salts that form from it and we have fun trying to grow unique crystals. The liquid, and also gypsum can also be used to make tofu.
If you needed a quick answer to what makes Bulls Bay Sea Salt the best, I'd say it's all in the ingredients.
Stay tuned, maybe we’ll make tofu for the next blog post.