We are learning on the fly down at our Solar Salt Greenhouse at Story Hill Farm in Frankford, Delaware, as we overhaul our salt brine process from energy-intensive hard boiling to natural solar evaporation.
It has been a cold spring, so we are a bit behind our anticipated schedule, with the water evaporating at about 70-75% the rate we expected. But we've pushed through the early growing pains, and we're excited to have solar greenhouse salt for you sometime in the near future! It's still hard to pinpoint exactly when, but you will be the first to know!
Once the solar-evaporated water becomes salt-rich brine and reaches the proper salinity level, we will re-filter the brine to remove any impurities and take it back to Lewes for a quick, soft boil and then the long, slow finish in our finishing trays that coaxes out those sweet, briny flakes everyone has come to love. And once the salt starts flowing, we should have plenty to go around!
We truly appreciate everyone's patience and encouragement as we make this transition. It means the world to us, and we can't wait to get salt into everyone's hands!
As many of you know, we have searched for almost 18 months for a facility that will allow us to expand production using our current process. Due to a combination of terrible zoning policy, a white-hot coastal real estate market and the geographic limitations of making a local product from local resources, we have failed to find an adequate facility. As a result, the holiday season was insane, with each of our sales selling out in minutes, leaving a whole lot of disappointed people.
The benefit of this failure, however, is that it forced us to revisit everything we know and do here at the salt works, and it now allows us to make a move that aligns perfectly with our strongest values.
In 2022, we will be transitioning our “brining” process (which is phase one of our saltmaking operation) to a 100% energy-free, solar evaporation system that we will house at the wonderful regenerative Story Hill Farm in Frankford, Delaware. We couldn’t have found a more valuable partner to help us harness the power of the sun and wind to make salt, and we are very stoked about that.
This new brining process will enable us to expand production while achieving a 90% reduction in total energy use. This allows us to think and plan over the very long-term, and to grow an extremely sustainable, human powered, locally-focused business, while also making a higher volume of our world-class culinary sea salt.
These next few months will be a little bumpy, though, as we make the move from brining via energy-intensive boiling to brining via solar evaporation, which is a MUCH slower process.
We will continue to make salt as best we can while we overhaul our operation, but the production will be limited as we phase out our current process and phase in the solar evaporation. We hope to be up and running with the new operation by June 1st, but some of that is out of our hands.
As a result, we will not resume our wholesale operation in full until our new production system is consistently producing salt. Once the transition is behind us, however, we expect to have enough salt to consistently meet the demand from everyone who wants to make Henlopen Sea Salt part of their home kitchen! So please consider this a brief step backward to enable many wonderful steps forward.
We want to extend our deepest thanks to all of you for being the engine that drives our mission here at Henlopen Sea Salt. Without all of you, I’d just be a guy with an oversized head and a few 5-gallon buckets. We will never forget that.
We look forward to documenting and sharing our progress as we make this move over the next few months, and we will be back very soon with details on our next online sale.