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Western Salt Company
1470 Bay Boulevard, Chula Vista

It looks like a sparkling white pyramid, but it's salt from the last naturally sun-cured salt pans in the West. Western Salt evaporates salt water the old-fashioned way, by sunlight down at the shallow southern end of San Diego Bay. The salt water comes from the ocean, not the bay: underwater pipes punch out beneath the Silver Strand to catch fresh ocean water. "In one year a two-acre pond will give us six to nine inches of salt, depending on the evaporation," says Eli Gomez, who supervises the salt's warehousing. "It comes out 99.9 percent pure. It has no additives." That's one reason it's not FDA-approved, because it has no iodine added. But its purity is guaranteed. And the sight of the 1/2-inch crystals makes you think you're in a diamond mine (You can buy small (1/16th inch), medium (1/8-1/4-inch), or large (1/2-inch crystals). Only problem: they sell it in 50-pound bags, $4.70 per bag; minimum order four bags.

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