Where can a devotion to finding pure, honest food sources take you? For One Degree, it took us 5000 feet underground and far back in time.

That’s the source of the purest salt we’ve ever found — or ever tasted. Within a labyrinth of alabaster tunnels deep within the earth, the Real Salt company of Redmond, Utah mines salt that has lain pristinely in nature’s own geological salt shaker for centuries. It is salt Native Americans knew about hundreds of years ago, and that health-aware Americans are now rediscovering.

The vast deposit is the surviving remnant of an ancient sea. As the earth heated, cooled and convulsed, volcanic ash sealed this site, protecting it from the type of chemicals and contamination that are sometimes present in other brands marketed as sea salt.

What this ancient salt has — all of the trace minerals nature intended — is just as important as what it doesn’t have — the runoff, the radiation, the pollution and man-made compounds. The balance of natural sodium with elements such as calcium, potassium, magnesium and phosphorus is in sync with the body’s own chemistry, eliminating some of the problems sometimes associated with heavy salt intake.

We like to emphasize that at One Degree, every ingredient has a story. And when we say that, we usually mean grains. Our veganic millet, kamut, red wheat and lentils love the spotlight, and deserve it. But our grains of salt have a great story to tell, too.

The tale of these salty grains of truth begins in the 19th century, when the Bosshardt family, immigrants from the Swiss-German border region, settled in Utah and ultimately began farming. Amid a drought in the late 1950s, the Bosshardts turned to the salt deposit under their land, clearing corn to make way for a new, solid foundation for the family’s financial security.

The salt deposit was no secret. Neighboring farmers knew about salt in the area, and Native Americans had discovered it long ago. Archeological digs have found evidence some tribes carried salt from this deposit with them as far as Colorado.

The Bosshardts were the first to make the salt deposit a way of life. To this day, nearly two dozen members of the family work in the company. And they treat the business as much more than a profit-making enterprise. “Stewardship” is a word heard often. According to Darryl Bosshardt, grandson of one of the company founders, RealSalt’s belief has always been: “These minerals that were there under the farm can be used to bless lives.”

The good fortune of the company has blessed many lives among employees and in the community; and, increasingly, it is providing the blessings of vitality to health-conscious consumers.

RealSalt is loved by purists, but a much wider audience has begun to appreciate the difference between this ancient seasoning and the alternatives. In many commercial salts, most trace minerals have been extracted. Salt companies learned long ago that they could make a profit by selling the various chemical elements separately. That adds to the company’s financial health, but hurts the individual’s health by depriving the body of key components of natural salt.

The body requires some of these minerals to digest sodium properly, explains Bosshardt. By way of analogy, it’s like the difference between eating a carrot or taking a vitamin A tablet. Nature’s version — the carrot — is undoubtedly better for your health. Plus, “You really have a tough time overdosing on carrots,” he jokes.

Most salt alternatives also use heat processing and add so-called “anti-caking agents” to reduce moisture and prevent clumping. Some of these anti-caking compounds are similar to ingredients used in anti-perspirant.

“Because our salt is from an ancient sea bed and Mother Nature pressed the moisture out long ago, our salt is naturally about .6 percent moisture,” he notes. That’s as dry as it needs to be for your kitchen.

“It is straight from the earth. We don’t heat it. We don’t process it. We crush it up and put it in the shaker.”

It is “salt the way salt was meant to be savored,” he adds. And “savor” is a very good word to use to describe Real Salt. Many people are surprised at the taste, and how it magnifies the intensity of every flavor in the pot and on the plate. The naturally occurring minerals, so important to preserving the nutritional benefits, also give Real Salt a sweeter, less bitter taste.

In our view, Real Salt is a sweeter experience in every way. It works in harmony with your body’s chemistry, keeps contaminants out of your food, promotes improved health, and adds a pinch of wonderfully natural flavor to any meal. We’re proud to have nature’s purest salt in our package — and the great folks at Real Salt on our team.

— Charlie Dodge