PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – A local woman’s sea salt business to add some extra flavor for those cooking at home during the pandemic is thriving, all while giving back to various local non-profits and Tampa Bay chapters of non-profits.

Maureen Cacioppo is the founder and maker of Florida Pure Sea Salt. She began the company in 2016 after being a sea salt-creating hobbyist.

“So we need salt to live, but of course in these days, with the packaged food industry, we need it in moderation,” she said.

Cacioppo previously worked in the non-profit sector herself, but comes from a large family who loves to cook and eat.

“I came home with some water someday and just started boiling it,” she said of her sea salts. “I started really deciding that this was going to be a business rather than a hobby when I started to make some good salt.”

The sea salt she says is “nice and briny.” She doesn’t use any anti-clumping agents or bleach, letting all minerals stay put in the seawater.

Cacioppo said there are a number of ways to create sea salt, including, of course, mining salt from the Himalayan Mountains, but she creates her salt through the process of evaporation in the oven, which puts her in control of the entire process.

She said it takes about four days from start to finish. If someone wishes to use a solar evaporation method for making sea salt, it could take as long as two months during the summer.

Florida Pure Sea Salt features about 17 infused flavors to be used in a wide variety of recipes with endless possibilities.

“Black garlic would be unbelievable on a hardboiled egg in the morning or a pork tenderloin,” Cacioppo said.

Their rosemary-infused salt could be used in place of dressing on salads, and she also features a spicy habanero-infused salt for those wanting a kick.

While navigating the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Cacioppo and Florida Pure Sea Salt as a small business are actually giving back.

“We’ve chosen 11 different causes and we’ve hooked up with unbelievable nonprofits that support these causes and do an excellent job with that, and these are local nonprofits and these are also national and global nonprofit organizations,” Cacioppo said.

Labeled for every non-profit has been designed, and 20 percent of every jar sold will be donated to that organization, “so they can do what they do best,” according to Cacioppo.

Some of those non-profits benefiting from Florida Pure Sea Salt’s fundraiser include Feeding Tampa Bay, the Humane Society of the United States, Moffitt Cancer Center, Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium, and more.

The fundraiser did not just occur around Earth Day. The funds will be donated to these organizations throughout the year in Florida Pure Sea Salt’s “Salts for a Cause” initiative.

The company will highlight one nonprofit a month on its website, with April’s being The Nature Conservancy.

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