Wrightsville Beach resident Amanda Jacobs does not have to make the trek to the grocery store when she runs out of salt; she walks 30 yards to the Atlantic Ocean.
Since November 2013, Jacobs has been making and selling her own brand of natural sea salt and sea salt body scrubs under the name Sea Love Sea Salt.
Using Atlantic Ocean water collected from just off Wrightsville Beach, Jacobs filters, evaporates and bottles the sea salt all from her home.
“Local salt doesn’t exist here, which is so crazy because we are on the ocean,” Jacobs said. “Now it is kind of taking off.”
While she holds a Ph.D. in education, an empty job search in Wilmington and a friend’s suggestion led her to start the company. Jacobs said the demand for her product exceeded her expectations.
The process begins with 5-gallon buckets full of salt water. Then Jacobs uses a heavy cheesecloth and Brita filter to purify the saltwater before pouring a shallow layer into multiple glass pans. The glass pans are then placed in a miniature greenhouse outside Jacobs’ home where the water evaporates and leaves only sea salt.
If the weather is sunny and warm, Jacobs said she can produce a batch of sea salt in one week but it can take up to three weeks if the weather is not favorable.
Jacobs produces varieties like plain and rosemary sea salts, and body scrubs like the Beach Babe Coconut Salt and Sugar Scrub and Wide-Eyed Citrus Salt Scrub.
The salt scrubs were created from one overly dried batch of sea salt.
“I started the scrubs mainly because I messed up some salt batches and left them out too long,” Jacobs said. “I didn’t want to throw it out, so I turned it into scrubs and now they are selling even better than the salts are.”
Along with Jacobs’ customers on Etsy, Sea Love Sea Salt has also attracted the attention of local chefs like Bento Box Chef Lee Grossman who has been helping her with ideas about packaging for the restaurant industry.
Salt is one of the food additives labeled Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) by the United States Food and Drug Administration, and Jacobs said she had to conduct research about the water quality off Wrightsville Beach before production.
She said the next step for Sea Love Sea Salt is to establish a production site outside of her home and to build a larger greenhouse for increased production.
Also new will be additional sea salt variations like a citrus sea salt seasoning, which Motts Channel Seafood has requested for the summer.
In addition to her online Etsy shop at www.etsy.com/shop/SeaLoveDesign, Jacobs will soon sell her sea salts at the Poplar Grove Farmers’ Market and the Wrightsville Beach Farmers’ Market.