It was a rainy, last minute Saturday drive to visit Teresa and Rustin Gooden at their home and salt farm, Bulls Bay Saltworks. I received the most warm, generous welcome by the Gooden’s, their excitable dog, a mooching drooling cat, a chatty pregnant pig, many egg laying chickens and one fly away, self-homed peacock. Their one acre homestead is a little dream land – full of veggie gardens (including the world’s hottest chili plant), happy animals and of course, a salt farm.
Teresa and Rustin approach salt naturally – their small batch, locally harvested, sustainable process makes for an efficient, innovative and humble saltworks. Situated just north of Charleston, SC, they harvest water locally from a protected class 1 wilderness area in Cape Romain. They then use a solar power evaporation process to form four different types of salt including crystals, flake, a ‘margarita’ variety and their most delicious bourbon barrel smoked salt. As we trudged around the farm in our gumboots (their property was part flooded due to an unseasonably large amount of rain) I was completely swept up by Teresa and Rustin’s simple yet quality approach to living and farming. They love what they do and work so well together at it – quite inspiring to be around and great to know that their product comes from such a heartfelt place.
Lately, I have been finding that more and more I am enjoying the times where I get to see and photograph food in its most natural, basic state. I love learning where it comes from, how it is made and then I love getting excited about how I can turn it into something delicious for the dinner table. Not only is the process and the story such an invigorating part, but the people, like Teresa and Rustin, who make their life's work about producing innovative, quality, and natural products from the land - and sea - is what pulls at my heart strings most. It gives me goosebumps. It leaves me curious, thankful and wanting to learn more.
Keep an eye out next week for a recipe using Bulls Bay Saltworks Smoked Sea Salt. I hear that mushrooms are involved… and there may just be a little Bulls Bay Salt giveaway too – it is quite delicious and very much worth sharing.