Restaurateur, musician and American Idol winner, Taylor Hicks will highlight the Heber based company, Redmond Inc. in the food travel show called State Plate with Taylor Hicks. The program travels the country in search of regional cuisine and the show coming up on December 10th on INSP, features Redmond’s Real Salt product along with other food unique to Utah’s culture.
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Rex Robinson is the Director of Original Programming and Development for INSP. He said the episode featuring the Beehive Sate will focus on several quintessential dishes.
“..which is hosted by Taylor Hicks, who was one of the American Idol winners. Here’s this guy who loves food but also an entertainer. And, you know, he is just really down-to-earth and interacts so well with the people that we have on the show. For Utah, we landed on iconic foods such as salt, funeral potatoes, fry sauce, Jello, dried cherries and how those foods are consumed by folks there in Utah.”
Heber based Redmond Incorporated employs about 300 people. They’ve been in business since 1958. The salt mining operation in central Utah provides agricultural, road and culinary salt. It’s the ancient sea bed culinary salt that is featured in the Taylor Hicks State Plate show. Darryl Bosshardt is a descendant of the original farmers that started the company. They found a 150-million-year-old salt vein about 30 feet below the surface of their corn fields.
“There were two brothers in central Utah and during World War II. The one brother had worked for McDonald Douglas in California so had learned a lot of business skills there. And the other brother had worked at Kennecott as a minor. And, so after the war was over, the two came back to the family farm, you know, to bring the families back together and they farmed for a few years and then in 1958, the mid to late 1950’s, there was a really bad drought in central Utah. So, they needed to find something else to do to feed the kids and to work. And, they knew there was an outcropping of salt north and south of their farm that the Native Americans had harvested long before the Mormon Pioneers had come into the valley. So, they figured there must be this vein that runs under their farms.”
Bosshardt said once they realized they had an ancient sea bed under their property, they started to mine the salt. After a fortuitous event in the 1970’s, the family found they had a national market that wanted to buy their table salt. He said it’s as delicious as the Himalyan pink salt that is so popular with gourmet chefs but has not nearly the food miles associated with shipping it from Pakistan where it’s sourced.
“And, initially sold it to local farmers and then started to sell it to the state of Utah and to local municipalities to keep the roads safe in the winter time. And then, in the 1970’s, there was a health food movement that really started to build in the US and then a naturalist, kind of a health food person came through visiting the Grand Canyon and stopped in to see this unique deposit in Utah. And he got some salt and went back home and wrote this article about the healthiest, tastiest salt in the US came from this ancient sea bed in central, rural Utah. And at that point, they said we better do something with this salt now that people are calling to buy it for their kitchen tables. And so, the family sat around and said what do we call this stuff? You know, it’s not fake salt, it’s not half salt, it’s not new salt, it’s just real salt and the name just stuck.”
Robinson said Hicks will bring viewers into the salt mine to show the mining process but will also highlight a salt crusted entrée along with some other famous Utah dishes.
“For Utah, we start off with a salt crusted steak and it’s from the salt that he was actually down there mining. He actually gets on this huge piece of machinery that kind of grinds the salt off of the tunnel walls.”
Three Utah women will prepare their green Jello recipes and they’ll provide facts about fry sauce consumption, which is a standard condiment unique to Utah. Funeral potatoes and dried cherry cookies round out the cuisine highlights for the show.
Taylor Hicks’ State Plate food travel show features Utah dishes and the Heber salt mining business, Redmond’s Real Salt in the December 10th episode airing on INSP TV at 10 AM Mountain Time.