Daddona was eating at Bruce & Son’s Cheese Emporium in Greenport when her eyes came across a jar of North Fork Sea Salt. When she asked chef/owner Bollman about the salt, he told her he harvests it; that piqued her curiosity to the point that Bollman took her out in the early morning to show her his craft in action. The tranquil experience ended up developing into a photo essay on Bollman, whose work at sunrise verges on sublime meditation. “Just being outside on the East End is simply therapeutic,” says Bollman. “I love being outdoors, love being surrounded by water, love the North Fork period.”
North Fork Sea Salt came about after Bollman saw a video of an old fisherman making salt on his stove top. Soon he was making his own to support his family during the off-season. “With a lot of trial and a lot of error,” he says, “we stuck it out to become a small batch salt company, striving to rival some of the best in the world.” Bollman’s ambition to be “the Maldon of the East Coast” is not unfounded. Little more than two years into production, North Fork Sea Salt joined fellow East Ender Amagansett Sea Salt at the top of bon appétit’s “8 American Sea Salts Worth Sprinkling on Lots of Food.”
With her short films, Daddona forages for local food stories, traces the heart and soul of those artisans, and sincerely tells the stories behind their crafts.
Success has come “organically,” says Bollman, who has proudly never paid for ad space or sent out sales reps. “Locally and throughout the country, we have been fortunate to have quite a bit of support from home cooks, chefs, and vendors. We depend on only word of mouth and social media.” The process is pretty straight forward — harvest water, filter, reduce water to brine, filter and then evaporate — but there is an art to the process. A locavore, he smokes the salts with vine clippings and infuses the flavored variations with organic herbs from Sang Lee and tomatoes from KK’s biodynamic farm.
“The East End is very much like a mix of Napa Valley and Portland, Oregon,” says Bollman. “We have a few gem restaurants, but we’re known for our producers: farmers, winemakers, baymen and artisans that are all doing their part in preserving and creating history here on the North Fork.” Daddona, a former resident of Nassau, agrees that “everyone out here works very hard for what we have: open fields.” She herself is not so different from Bollman and other local producers. With her short films, whether it is North Fork Sea Salt or cHarissa, Daddona forages for local food stories, traces the heart and soul of those artisans, and sincerely tells the stories behind their crafts. Her craft is as vital as Bollman’s salt.
“We’re [Scott and I are] both working, but we’re really not working. It’s never work. It’s inspiring seeing so much out here and it never feels like a job to me,” says Daddona. “The food movement is still very young and growing. The East End food region is going to keep growing in a good way and be a role model for other regions. When I see the desire for the food of the East End, I realize that people from other states want what we have.”
Daddona’s children come home bragging about their school garden with bags of lettuce in hand. The late KK Haspel , the master gardener of the same farm from which Bollman sources his tomatoes, was heavily involved mentoring children at school gardens across the North Fork. “She was ahead of her time,” says Daddona, “and we need to continue her legacy and get everyone that is a part of this community to talk to the kids, whether they are farmers, winemakers, fishermen or chefs. Get the young people involved. If they get out there and get their hands dirty, they’ll appreciate it. The kids are like sponges. Everything will grow. If the food grows, we grow.”