Visiting Salem Spice
Being COVID-19 aware
We are open 9am to 12noon daily for pickup and sales. We appreciate those who come by with a spice emergency which we can fulfill. Feel free to order online for pickup.
Be safe, eat healthy, be kind.
Salem Spice is fresh and flavorful spices! We are here to help you learn more about spices, and to understand how flavor and taste are different. We can provide you with cooking flavors, tricks, and tips for all your favorite recipes. We are located in historic Salem Massachusetts right on Pickering Wharf. Come visit us!
Salem is where spices really got their start in the newly independent United States. After the Revolutionary War, the United States of America found itself without many places that would allow them to purchase and ship spices. The British owned and operated many of the ports from which the rich and sought-after spices were shipped. American ships were either not allowed to enter those ports, or were charged exorbitant fees for the privilege. In order to survive, American sailors had to find a new way of trade.
Captain Jonathan Carnes left Salem with salted cod, lumber, coal, and manufactured goods to trade for spices. He sailed half-way around the world and landed in Sumatra, where the Portugese and Dutch had been warring with the local tribes and using them for labor to harvest pepper and nutmeg. Captain Carnes treated the natives of Sumatra fairly, honestly, and as a result he was able to establish a new trade route from Salem to Sumatra. The first shipment of pepper from Sumatra landed in Salem in 1797 and brought an astronomical profit for the ship and her owners. Over the next several years, other ships found the lucrative trade route for spices from Salem to Sumatra and a new industry was born.
At one time, the number of ships from Salem to Sumatra was so large that the king of Sumatra was heard to say "Salem must be a big, important country to have so many ships based there." To this day, the official seal of Salem contains a gentleman in traditional Sumatran attire with the motto "Divitis Indiae usque ad ultimum sinum" (Latin: To the farthest port of the rich Indies).
Today, Salem Spice resides on Pickering Wharf in Salem, honoring our maritime history. We bring spices from all over the world providing you with flavors to enhance your cooking. We carry over 100 natural spices and combine them into a myriad of blends. We carry recipes for traditional international blends, local BBQ styles, and custom blends. Come find your favorite flavor!