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Central Utah town boasts 'greatest salt on earth'

By Alex Cabrero | Posted - Nov 20th, 2012 @ 10:36pm

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REDMOND, Sevier County — The first time you hear the screeching, shrilling, grinding sound, you can't wait for it to stop. But Mark Bosshardt barely even notices anymore.

"To tell you the truth, no," he said. "You just get used to it."

For the past eight years, Mark has spent plenty of time down in these deep, dark tunnels. It is work, but it's also become home for him: lining up equipment, making sure everything is just right.

"I'm drilling a series of holes, and we'll blast the face out," he explained as he worked.

You see, Mark Bosshardt is a miner. But he's not mining coal or precious metals. The big rock-looking wall he drills into is actually solid salt. One day, it'll be used to make icy roads safer.

"Everybody wants nice, safe roads; and so when you're out there driving and you see kind of a red salt on the roads, that's probably coming from Redmond," Mark said.

It would be easy to drive right past Redmond, Utah, and not even know it — except for the giant mounds of salt.

Redmond is a small, rural town in Sevier County, just south of Gunnison. It would be easy to drive right past it and not even know it, except for the giant mounds of salt.

"When we started the company, nobody knew where Redmond was. In fact, it was kind of a joke. Everybody laughed at what we called the company: Redmond Clay and Salt," said Neal Bosshardt, owner of Redmond Trading Company. "You know, Redmond? Who knows Redmond?"

November is the busy time of year for Redmond. Road salt is the majority of their business.

"It's the premiere salt for much of the Intermountain West, and the West in general, because of its ability to melt at much lower temperatures," Neal explained.

Of course, Redmond is known for more than just its road salt. Many of you might recognize it for its table food name: it's Real Salt.

"This salt comes right out of the ground, from an ancient seabed geologists place during the Jurassic Era, and we just crush it up," Darryl explained.

That's the company's main selling point: that their salt is all-natural. They don't do anything to the salt except mine it, haul it, crush it, bag it and ship it to stores.

"We try to leave it just the way nature created it, without adding any chemicals or anti-caking agents; without taking any minerals away," said Darryl Bosshardt, sales manager for Redmond Trading Company.

The salt deposit itself is estimated to be about 3 miles long, a quarter of a mile wide, and roughly 5,000 feet deep.

The salt deposit itself is estimated to be about 3 miles long, a quarter of a mile wide, and roughly 5,000 feet deep.

"And since about 1950, we've only gone down about 300 feet into that deposit," Darryl said. "So we've got several hundred, if not a couple thousand years of material left at current production rates."

Right now, production rates are about 12,000 tons of salt a week. That's almost 400, fully-loaded 747 airplanes — now shipped all across the world.

"You can go to Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong; and there is a salt from deep within the earth in Utah that finds its way onto the grocery store shelves in Taipei," Darryl said.

So for Mark Bosshardt, it's actually the sound of pride he hears more than anything.

"It's kind of humbling to see how far that (salt) has actually went," he said.

Of course, many people love the taste of the regular white salt most of us are used to. It all comes down to personal preference, but there's something really neat about being from Utah and knowing your salt is from here too.


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