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For These Artisan Founders, Cute Small-Batch Goods Were Just the Beginning

This story appears in the August 2016 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Morton’s sells a perfectly suitable box of kosher salt. It’s $2.49 for three pounds. Then along comes Ben Jacobsen from Oregon, whose salt’s price is 650 percent higher. But his isn’t just any ole salt: It is pulled from a handpicked spot in the Pacific Ocean and run through a complex process of purification. It is not salt to just salt things. His is a highlight -- a “finishing salt,” the flaky crystals that chefs sprinkle on food right before serving to give it a pop of flavor.

Photographs by John Clark
Ben Jacobsen with a single large salt crystal.

Jacobsen launched his company in 2011 and called it Jacobsen Salt Co. He knew his price would make some scoff -- but that plenty of others would be willing to be impressed. “The challenge was to keep the product quality at the highest level possible and continuously improve quality over time,” he says, “and to convey the story of how our salt is made and why it is so special.”

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