Cannon Beach, Oregon. ##Stock photo

Salt of the Earth

North Coast a humble, humbling place

By Hilary Berg

“Salt of the earth.” What a curious phrase. The saying actually originates from the Bible, Matthew 5:13. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says, “You are the salt of the earth.”

He was addressing a crowd of commoners — i.e. laborers, shepherds, fishermen... The statement was a positive affirmation, as salt was worth more than gold at the time. In short, Jesus was telling these people they were of great value and worth.

I never knew the origin of the phrase until now. You see, I attended Catholic school; we were too busy discussing dogma and memorizing prayers instead of studying the actual Bible.

Nowadays, the expression means “good, without airs, honest, down-to-earth...” These are the people with whom you can let down your messy, unmanageable hair.

As you can tell from the cover, we are revisiting Oregon’s North Coast, where “salt of the earth” best describes the region’s people, who, by the way, are no strangers to salt. It’s literally in their air — and likely, hair. 

Laid-back. Modest. Straightforward. Hardworking. Dedicated. Self-assured. No glitz. No drama. They are my kind of people — and my kind of tasting rooms, as well.

We landlocked Oregonians often romanticize the Coast for its rugged beauty and sea-foaming serenity, but the Coast is not all saltwater taffy and double rainbows. Dense fog, gray skies, sneaker waves and gale-force winds make it a humbling place to live and make a living. 

Fishermen and loggers are the ones who built the charming towns dotting the Coast. To this day, these backbreaking livelihoods still require true grit and a lot of grind, which brings me back to “salt of the earth.”

When you’re visiting the Coast, embrace the “salt,” and be sure to bring some home with you, too.

Wine country could use more down-to-earth and less highfalutin.


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