Hello to our sweet salt fam far and wide! Happy holidays and a happy new year!
2023 was a huuuge year for us, and we never could have done it without our incredible customers and fantastic crew!
This year, we…
Opened our first ever store, in beautiful downtown Friday Harbor! This was truly the highlight of our year as a team. Brady’s wife and the Bloom San Juan queen, Leah, was all hands on deck to help create the beautiful vibe of the store, and fill it with our favorite products from makers in the PNW and beyond. With the help and wonderful touch of our unparalleled shopkeeper, Beth, we’ve already served over 9,000 customers at our store since it opened in June! We’ve had long time customers from all over the state (and even country!) come in to see photos of our salt process, ogle our selection of natural crystals for display, and taste tons of tummy treats. Thank YOU so much if you were one of them! If you haven’t been in yet to grab some cookies or gifts from Beth or Tyler, we can’t wait to see you! We’ll be taking a seasonal break and right back at it in March of 2024.
...Harvested 17,000 lbs of dry salt this year! We have 14 greenhouses in total, and our 7 greenhouses built in 2020 have been keeping up nicely with increased demand for our solar-evaporated salt. Thanks to our salt master Ian, who pours his heart and love into every batch, fussing over almost every crystal and making sure that we are making the best salt we absolutely can. If you like the flavor of our salt, you have Ian's strong arms and commitment to our crystals to thank for it!
...Are now carried by PCC Markets in Seattle, our biggest wholesale account yet! We also entered roughly over 200 new stores across the country this year, in addition to our amazing wholesalers that have stuck by us for years before!
...Have a current caramel crew of around 12 folks per week, lead by our fearless leader Barb Jensen! They now wrap what Tyler cooks weekly (as opposed to a couple of times a month in years prior), to keep up with our incredible caramel demands– that is roughly 400 boxes and 10,000 pieces of candy a week! We also moved into our own specially outfitted kitchen at the shop after renting out commercial kitchens around the island for 8 years, so no more hauling supplies in and out of town! Yay!
...Had the pleasure of seasonal folks helping us out this year! We’d love to give a big shout-out to our salt fam Jupiter, Mackenzie, and Brittany for their help during the summer rush while our store was just in its baby phase. They helped label and fill jars to supply our retail, wholesale, and store demands throughout the summer!
...Expanded our smoking operations to 12 smokers and added one new smoking tender– our lovely and intrepid coworker, Jonna. Together, Jonna and our master smoker Tyler cold-smoke black pepper, cane sugar, and our sea salt. Read and see some snippets from their process in our blogpost from this fall!
...Were featured in Food & Wine magazine, and personally recommended by one of my all-time favorite actors– Kyle Maclachlan! In his gift recommendations, he mentioned our Bestsellers set and even our new shop! We’d like to send a special thank you to Kyle, and the editors of Food & Wine for their incredible print feature. We also were highlighted in the Seattle Times's special edition holiday gift guide for our Madrona Smoked Salt! Thank you to the Seattle times for their super sweet feature.
...Got to experience the joy of adding 100 unique products from our favorite makers to our lineup! If you haven’t had a chance to check them out yet at the shop, make sure to get in there and find your favorites when we open again at the end of winter. We've got everything from specialty sustainably canned seafood, smoked maple syrup, elderflower Swedish fish, salmon jerky, SJI-made chocolates and teas, and so much more!
...Added 3 new blends to our roster this year, too! From our two collabs that challenged our usage of new ingredients-- Coffee Salt with Tony’s Coffee, and Blueberry Habanero with Bow Hill Blueberries!-- as well as our final star of the year, Golden Curry Blend! All thanks to Anna, our spice kitchen production lead (or as we call her, the Kitchen Witch) who hand mixed almost every blend we made, including more batches of our bestselling Popcorn Blend than we can count!
And finally, a couple of goodbyes…
We want to give a HUGE shoutout to Cascadia, our shipping extraordinaire, incredibly hard working coworker, and true friend to us here at the salt farm.
Just this year, she has individually shipped 1,000 orders through our wholesale selling channel, Faire– that isn’t including local stores, non-Faire wholesale orders, or our retail shipping! You've definitely seen her face on the stickers we put on every shipped package. She is moving on to a great big adventure in Seattle, and while we will miss her so, we are so proud of her for her amazing work and for her next adventure!
We also, very sadly, lost our farm dog Sherman this year. He was the best of the best of dogs, so regal and and kind, and a good friend to every single person who spent time at the salt farm. We miss him everyday.
All in all… 2023 was an absolutely groundbreaking year for us here at San Juan Island Sea Salt. We never could’ve done it without each of our sweet salt family… but also, each of you wonderful customers that help us do what we love every dang day.
Cheers to us, cheers to you, and cheers to what 2024 will bring!
The SJISS Crew