Salt of the Earth Co. began in 2011 somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean between Cusco, Peru and New York.
In October 2011 SOTE Co. Founder Jason Kaplan traveled to Peru to find something. What it was he had no idea. He had heard that those who visited Machu Picchu and its surrounding areas had metaphysical experiences, gaining perspective on life and happiness. “That’s preposterous,” he remembered thinking, “but what do I have to lose.” After eight days of hiking in the backcountry of the Andes and exploring the Sacred Valley, interacting and engaging with local farmers and families, Jason felt it, a deep connection to a culture to a people. And then he found the salt.
On his last day, his geology and food-loving passions took him an hour outside of Cusco to Salinas de Maras, a pre-Inca salt mine. As soon as he arrived, he was in awe of what he saw, a valley carved into by a complex network of salt pans. He saw several locals harvesting their salt pans and began chatting with one family who surprisingly understood his remedial Spanish. After a few minutes of talking they asked him if he had any bags. Unsure of what they needed them for, he happily handed them a few ziplocks he had in his backpack. He then watched as they packed each one to the brim, handing them back to him seemingly in appreciation for his interest in their process and production. Despite several initial refusals, they finally accepted a few dollars and many “gracias” in return for their salt.
The kindness, warmth, and generosity that Jason experienced during this trip sparked the desire to form a company that gave back to the people and communities who were a part of the history and production of this beautiful, naturally pink salt.
Jason Kaplan graduated Colgate University with a BA in Geology. He then earned a JD and a Masters Degree in Environmental Law and Policy from Vermont Law School. His graduation present from law school was a weekend Boot Camp at the Culinary Institute of America. It is the compilation of these passions that drive Jason’s vision for SOTE Co.