Papa Glow: Peter Pierce- A Man Worth His Salt

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Screen Shot 2015-06-18 at 7.44.23 AMMeet Peter Pierce, a 49 year old father who’s worth his salt. Peter is a graduate of Bates College received his MBA from University of Chicago.

After a successful career in telecommunications, Peter left the work force to be a stay at home father and raise his two children, Cooper (age 8) and Lily (age 7). Now that the children are both settled in elementary school, he took the opportunity to venture back into the work force and created Hamptons Salt Company, an all-natural artisan sea salt company, located in Southampton, New York. We are obsessed with Truffle Salt and can say that hands down Hamptons Salt Company makes our very favorite black truffle salt.

We caught up with Peter to learn more about Hamptons Salt Company.

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Artisan salt has become all the rage from culinary masters down to home cooks. What inspired you to venture into the salt business?

I have always loved the ocean. I grew up on an island and for most of my life, have lived within eyeshot of the water, either on the East or West Coast. Once I became a stay at home parent, I became more concerned about the food I was feeding my family and realized that the salt that most of us consume daily was basically chemicals. The big industrial salt companies were taking a natural occurring product and stripping it of the natural minerals found in sea salt and then adding potentially unhealthy anti-caking agents. I thought that this story needed to be told.

Describe the journey from sea to shelf, what’s the production process for a boutique salt company such as yours?

The team scours the world to curate the finest selection of raw salts, flavored salts or smoked salts.  All our salts are unrefined and free of unhealthy additives.  For example, our Fleur de Sel comes from the coast of France and our Cyprus Flake is one of the best Mediterranean Sea salts available anywhere.  The process for our flavored salts is to start with high quality raw salt and infuse it with all natural ingredients to produce powerful flavors with just a sprinkle.  For our smoked salts, nothing is added to the raw salt.  The salt absorbs the flavor of the specific wood that is used in the smoker.

What’s special about your salt?

We are the preeminent provider of all natural sea salts from around the globe. I describe salt making as being similar to wine making. The taste, color, crystal size, etc. depends on where it comes from and how it is made. We offer an amazing array of flavors and types from some of the best producers. All the salts are unrefined and free of unhealthy additives.

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You launched with flavored salts, how did you choose your blends?

The flavored salts provide a burst of flavor with a just a sprinkle. They are unique, fun and time saving in the kitchen. Most of us struggle to get home cooked meals on the table and anything that can save us some time and provide a different flavor profile is really helpful. So the infused and smoked salts were selected to give some basic everyday useful flavors, like garlic, lemon and rosemary, but also to include some more unique options like black truffle.

Our favorite is the Black Truffle salt…What’s your favorite flavor?

That is like asking me to choose which of my children is my favorite.  They all have different flavors, textures, crystal sizes, etc.  Maybe it’s better if I tell you which ones I used most recently.  Last night, I made salmon filets sprinkled with our Smoked Chardonnay Oak before pan searing.  This was served with a baby Kale salad using our Lemon Salt in the dressing, and roasted potatoes sprinkled with our new Finishing Salt as they came out of the oven.   Our Facebook & Instagram pages are a great place to get inspiration and to see examples of how people are using our salts.

What’s the difference between a cooking salt and a finishing salt?

A cooking salt is primarily used in the construction of a dish or an element of a recipe. Our new Cooking Salt should be a considered a replacement for that box of refined Kosher or Iodized salt in your pantry. A finishing salt is usually sprinkled on a dish after it is done. You can either sprinkle it before serving or have it on the table for everyone to season as they prefer. All our Flavored and Smoked salts can be used in cooking or sprinkled as a finishing salt. For example, Our Black Truffle Salt can be used to boil pasta for a nice truffle essence or sprinkle it on cooked scrambled eggs for a delightful breakfast enhancement.

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How should salt be stored, kept, and served?

All our salts should be stored in their jars, lids tight in a dry place. Our salt does not contain any anti-caking agents. So if it gets lumpy, simply take a fork or spoon and stir. We don’t believe in adding potentially unhealthy additives to our products, when a simple spoon or jar shake will do the trick! I personally like to dress a plate with a little salt before serving it, but then also have jars on the table, so people can salt to their own taste. Everyone has a different taste profile, so let people get creative. For those people that love spicy food, I usually have a jar of our amazingly hot Ghost Pepper on the table.

Does your being in the salt business influence your home cooking?

As a parent of two young children, I am always focused on finding the best quality ingredients and uncomplicated preparations. It is challenging enough to get dinner on the table, homework done, showers, etc. without complicated recipes and a big kitchen mess. I find you can make many delicious meals with good olive oil and our salts. The possibilities are endless. There are great ideas on our blog and Facebook page. I love when our customers post their photos and recipes on the Facebook page or tag us on Instagram. Iron Chef Alex Guarnescheli posted a picture of a great omelet using our Hawaiian Black salt.

What’s on the horizon for Hamptons Salt?

From a product perspective, we are just launching or new Cooking Salt and Finishing Salt. I am so excited about them, because these are the two items that should be in everyone’s cupboard. I challenge everyone to rid their home of their refined salt and purchase these 2 all natural sea salts. The Cooking Salt is a large jar (14 oz.) and sells for only $9.99. It is a proprietary blend of Atlantic & Pacific salts with some special French salt added! It is perfect for all basic cooking needs.

The Finishing Salt is a beautiful flake salt made from some of the finest salt makers in the world! It is a secret blend of salts from the North Sea, France and the Mediterranean! It can be sprinkled on anything and it delivers a special flavor, texture and crunch that can’t be beat. The 3 oz. jar sells for only $14.99.

We are also working with Purity Vodka on some killer cocktail collaborations so be sure to follow us on social media to get the recipes.

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Where can we find the product?

All our products are available online at www.HamptonsSalt.com.  We ship them in beautiful black boxes, so they are perfect as a hostess, birthday or holiday gift.  In the Hamptons, we can be found at specialty retailers like Round Swamp Farms (East Hampton & Bridgehampton), Red Horse Market (East Hampton), La Maisonnette (Sag Harbor), Loaves and Fishes (Sagaponack), In Home (Sag Harbor) and Gosman’s (Montauk).  If we aren’t in your local market, request that they add our salts!

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