The Maine Sea Salt Company offers visitors a behind the scenes look at the manufacture of a popular seasoning.
Salt water runs deep in Stephen Cook’s family. His ancestors lobstered off Bailey Island, and his parents founded the landmark Cook’s Lobster House Restaurant in the 1950’s, adding a distinct taste to their lobsters by using seawater in their boiling pots. It seems natural that, in 1998, he and his wife Sharon would extend the family tradition by opening the first salt house to operate in Maine in more than 200 years.
In addition to putting out a product used by famous chefs around the world, the Maine Salt Company hosts one of the most unique tours and showrooms in Down East Maine. Three transparent greenhouses rise like alien structures over the couple’s property in Marshfield, just north of Machias. Their garage doubles as a workshop and showroom. Visitors are invited to watch the strange process of extracting salt from seawater unfold. Water is pumped into the structures and evaporated. Then the salt is shoveled, smoked, and sent off to the showroom to be distilled into eight flavors and varieties. Free samples are available, and visitors are encouraged to call ahead for tours. — Barrett Limoges
Maine Sea Salt Company, 11 Church Ln., Marshfield. Tours daily, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. 207-255-3310. maineseasalt.com