In The Beginning
This is the story of a woman with a passion for good food who moved to the other side of the earth to an island in the Norwegian Sea and found the key to the world’s best salt.
Michal Bietz Overland grew up in Portland, Oregon, a city with a European feel on the U.S. west coast surrounded by organic farming, ranches, wineries, fresh fish from the sea and rivers and a climate reminiscent of Southern France. This has created a leading food culture in Portland on many fronts and Michal was a part of that culture. With her Norwegian husband and their two boys, she moved to Oslo in 2011, but it was the island where her husband’s family came from that was the place where she felt most at home.
The old small family farm is located at the end of the road on the island Gossen, in the county of Møre and Romsdal. The property looks out on the open sea of the North Atlantic to the northwest and the high peaks of the mainland to the east and south. Here the the only the sounds are that of the wind, ocean and an abundance of birdlife.
With a deep interest in the cultural and historical influences salt and the salt trade have had globally, Michal began to study its history in Norway and its impact on our traditional fisheries. When you meet Michal you will discover her energy and a personality that likes to go from thought to action. A day out fishing, out past Bjørnsund towards Saltsteinen, a big rock sticking out of the ocean, she took several ten-liter containers and filled them with crisp cold seawater. Back on shore, in the boathouse, she used an old crab cooker and began experimenting with different historical processes to develop a unique Norwegian sea salt. She sent samples to her friend, Mark Bitterman, the world’s leading expert on salt related to food. His response along with the responses of several great Scandinavian and American chefs told her she was on to something special. She recruited the help of her immediate family and together they created North Sea Salt Works.
Salt is in our history
Many people around the world know of Norway through our seafood. Dating back to the Middle Ages we have exported cod from the bountiful Norwegian Sea in large volumes. To preserve the fish for transport on ships it was dried and salted. Much found its way to Portugal, Spain, France and Italy where Norwegian cod is a staple in many traditional dishes. As salt was cheaper to produce in the southern climates our ships started to bring salt home and the Norwegian sea salt production slowly disappeared by the start of the last century. Now with the abundance of clean hydro energy North Sea Salt Works is revitalizing the sea salt production from the crispy cold and clean north seas. It has a distinct bright flavor that we hope you will enjoy.