MALDEN, WV (WOAY) – The J.Q. Dickinson Salt Works is a seventh generation family owned salt farm that originally began drilling for salt in 1817. Today the farm uses the same well to draw salt water from the Iapetus Ocean trapped under the Appalachian mountains.
“It’s fairly seasonal,” said Operations Manager Megan Easter. “We try to start around March depending on the weather and then we try to run through the end of October sometimes the beginning of November. So we usually end our tours sometime in November, but our gift shop is open year round and Christmas is a huge time for us with sales as well.”
The salt works offers free twenty minute tours Monday through Saturday from 10 AM to 4 PM. These tours not only provide visitors with the history of the salt farm, but also gives them a glimpse at the salt production process up close.
“We have a well outback, lots of folks come out here expecting to see a mine,” Easter said. “We do not have a mine it’s a well that goes down about three hundred and fifty feet. We draw that salt water up and solar evaporate it in green houses and then we hand harvest it. That whole process takes about five weeks, a little bit shorter in the summer when it’s really hot. Then we bring it inside where we hand clean it, process it, jar it up, and ship it out all over the world.”
Once the tour ends visitors are brought into the gift shop where they can sample some of the salt flavors and the homemade caramel sauces.
“We have six flavors right now and we have five more coming on the line hopefully later this year,” said Easter. “We have four different flavors of caramel sauce that we make in house and then we also offer a subscription box. We curate those items for that box all over Appalachia and then we sell those items individually in our gift shop as well.”
The salt works also has event spaces that can be rented out for weddings, baby and bridal showers, and dinners. They also host seasonal dinners with chefs from around Appalachia.
For more information on the J.Q. Dickinson Salt Works and their events check out our their website.