Food & Drink

Foodie File: Emily Jane Freed

Emily Jane FreedEmily Jane Freed uses local herbs for her line of salt blends

Working at Santa Cruz’s Jacob’s Farms, Emily Jane Freed had access to tons of fresh organic herbs. Since June of 2014, she’s been making use of those herbs with her own company, Farmer Freed, which sells culinary salt blends. Freed sells six flavors; some are tame, like Everyday Herb Salt and Spice It Up Salt, while others are more adventurous, like Pucker Up Citrus Salt and Vanilla Bean Baker’s Salt. Farmer Freed products are available at Mountain Feed and Seed in Ben Lomond, the Davenport Roadhouse, and some other spots around Northern California. She got down to the nitty gritty with us about salt.   

So, are you actually a farmer?

EMILY JANE FREED: I am. I did the program at UCSC. I got a job at Jacob’s Farm Del Cabo, the largest producer of organic culinary herbs and edible flowers in the U.S. We have 10 farms on the Santa Cruz, Watsonville and Pescadero coast. I am the regional production manager at Jacob’s Farm. I help manage all the farms.

Are your salts only for seasoning?

You can add the salts while you’re cooking or put it on top while you’re sitting down to enjoy a meal. It lends itself to both ways. It’s not always a finishing salt, which some salts are. I always encourage customers to come back and tell me how they used the salts, which is interesting.

What do you use the Vanilla Bean Baking Salt on?

On the label it says waffles, pancakes, breads, cookies, pies, cakes. Recently, I have a caterer that uses it for steak. The vanilla comes from the Vanilla Company, which is local, [owned by] Patricia Rain. She uses it on macadamia crusted fish. So, you can also use it for meat and fish.

What advice would you give amateur cooks?

The salts are great for people just learning their way around the kitchen, and for those that are already familiar. The Everyday Herb Salt (parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme) is the most popular because people are familiar with those herbs. We’ve all grown up, hopefully, hearing about them. That blend can be used on eggs, popcorn, avocado, meat, fish, poultry. I always encourage it for people who don’t know how to cook. Most people that don’t know how to cook, they still do know how to make eggs and popcorn.

GRAIN OF TRUTH Emily Jane Freed uses organic and local ingredients in her Farmer Freed culinary salt blends. PHOTO: CHIP SCHEUER

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