Behold, the humble flake of salt: is there any other edible so ephemeral yet so impactful? Literally essential to life on earth, salt has the remarkable ability to make a thing taste more deeply like itself, and has been harvested, traded, taxed, ritualized and fought over for thousands of years. Today, most of the table salt we consume in the US is mined from vast underground deposits, refined through means both chemical and mechanical, and packaged with anti-caking additives to help it better flow through the tiny holes of tabletop shakers.
Havsnø, on the other hand, uses a single ingredient (clean Norwegian sea water) and renewable energy to harvest and package its pure, nuanced, flaky, and very delicious sea salt. Founded by native Portlander Michal Bietz Øverland in 2014, Havsnø is Norway’s first commercial saltworks in over a century. After moving to Norway in 2011 to be closer to her husband’s family, Michal, a life-long food lover and serial entrepreneur, looked for opportunities to connect with the foodways of her new home. She volunteered with Geitmyra Culinary Center for Children, teaching kids to garden and cook with local ingredients, but it wasn’t until a family fishing trip to her mother-in-law’s birthplace on Gossen Island that Michal finally had her aha moment. On a hunch–struck by the overwhelming beauty of the place and mesmerized by the vast open ocean–she filled a crab pot with water, set it to boil, and the rest is history.
After almost a decade in business, Havsnø is still harvested, dried, and crystallized by hand, though in place of crab pots on the stove the facility uses hydropower generated by a nearby waterfall. And Michal’s firm commitment to sustainability led her to source FSC-certified paper and compostable bioplastics for packaging, further establishing that Havsnø, while firmly rooted in the area’s traditional artisan production methods, is also keeping an eye on the future. Havsnø’s clean flavor and delicate texture have been embraced by both Michelin-starred chefs and home cooks across Europe, and we are thrilled to introduce this exceptional product to discerning food-lovers in North America.