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Volume 15, Issue 44  | June 2, 2023Subscribe

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Laguna Logo 2022

In creating The Salt Horse, Sam Savage Breit pays homage to back-to-the-land lifestyle


Photos by Mary Hurlbut

The Salt Horse, a farm-to-table specialty grocery store, may be the best kept secret in Laguna, but hopefully for owner Sam Savage Breit, it won’t be much longer. Open since October 2022, it shares a building (that previously housed two plant nurseries) with Business and Pleasure. The names of both shops – Business & Pleasure (which sells unique beach accessories) and The Salt Horse – are mysterious and could represent a multitude of endeavors.

However, the focus of The Salt Horse is not at all secretive – the main goal is to serve the community by sourcing the freshest and most sustainable, nutritious, organic and seasonal produce from California family farms. At its core is a farm-to-table concept for down home living in a modern world and the celebration of the stories behind the food – the people who grew it, raised it, caught and created it. 

in creating sign and cactus

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Sam Savage Breit opened The Salt Horse in October 2022. The logo was designed by local artist Gulliver Farnan.


The name of The Salt Horse has special meaning to Breit, one that she was unaware of until she started researching the name.

“I did a search of the name to be sure it wasn’t being used anywhere else,” she said. “The salt represents the essential seasoning that can make or break a dish and salt to the earth people who I have the pleasure of working with. The horse represents the farm, the original way food was delivered, and hard- working people, which you have to be to be in this industry. I discovered that it is an Irish nautical slang for corned beef. 

“Immediately I knew this was serendipity and must be the name of my dream business. You see I was named after my grandfather, Samuel Savage, a deep sea diver from Ireland. Family is a huge inspiration for also why I founded The Salt Horse. Inspiring people to gather, tell stories and create food memories.”

in creating interior

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Hand-curated artisan goods and specialty foods. The beautiful macramé pieces hanging from the ceiling were made by local artist Jim Olarte. 

When entering The Salt Horse, it’s obvious the space is all about food – but on a deeper level – its benefits, where it came from, the story behind it, its relationship to health and well-being, how it affects the planet and how it connects families around the dinner table. 

Sounds like a lot to ask of food, but Breit breaks it down. “We are what we eat. Food affects the mind, body and mood. It either energizes or depletes,” she said. “We need to get into a ritual of recognizing the value of health and the choices we make and what are we going to grow, because we’re stripping the earth.” 

However, according to Breit, there is a solution – sourcing local markets.

“When I select a vendor, I want to make sure the farm is using organic farming practices, taking care of the environment and not spraying pesticides,” she said. “It makes a difference, and we have to be conscious of our decisions. It’s a very important question, because it affects our health and well-being. Over the years, how food is produced has drastically changed, it’s full of chemicals and artificial ingredients. Once people become educated about organic food, they can taste the difference – it’s a sensory experience.” 

The Salt Horse carries other items such as salsa, fresh goods, dips and they offer charcuterie boards.

in creating at door

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Breit created her dream business

Pursuing a dream

“My passion is to create a more sustainable food system for our local communities and transform the grocery business through mindful and valuable innovation,” Breit stated on her website. 

How did this vision become a reality? 

“I wondered where I was going to start my startup business,” Breit said. “I emailed Business & Pleasure and said, ‘I’m very passionate about food, I’m trying to create my dream business, can I sublease part of this beautiful building?’”

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Once Breit secured her spot, the next step was to bring her commitment to fruition. (One benefit of shopping at The Salt Horse can’t go unmentioned – there’s parking behind the store!) Breit has two employees: MacKenzie of Bee Happy Botanicals, a local honey maker and a part-time employee who is going to a culinary school in Napa next year. 

“My goal was to be innovative in changing the grocery business via the distribution of organic farm-to-table from a carefully curated selection of goods and provisions,” she said. “I support as many farms as possible – I source about 15. I try to figure out what each farm is best at – who has the best tomatoes, who has the best lettuce – and then develop relationships with them. Every week I go up to Santa Monica farmers’ markets. As I grow my business, I will source additional produce to meet demands.”

Breit also emphasized the importance of collaborations. “I work with Dan’s Provisions from New Zealand, they fly in fresh fish and visitors can pick it up here on Fridays. We need to have community and work with like-minded businesses that complement and support each other.” 

She has a close relationship with Blue Bird Farms and the owner of Rye Goods, to name a few.

Early connection to food

Raised in Virginia, Breit’s family connected around the dinner table. Her passion for food began in childhood. “During mealtime we had conversations about the food we ate,” she said. “I wanted to continue with those traditions when I established a family, to have some substantial food and great conversation.”

in creating eggs

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Locally sourced cage-free eggs 

She first visited Laguna when her mother, who had an art gallery that represented a Laguna artist, gave Breit a college graduation gift – a trip out here. She fell in love with it. For many years, she lived in Florida and had a career in the spa and salon business, handling branding and education. Then she was transferred to Costa Mesa but asked if she could live in Laguna.

Breit is a single mother of two boys – seventh and ninth graders. She used to run a yoga program for children called the Mindful Octopus. “I come from a mindfulness background,” she said. “This has an influence on what I do now, being mindful of where your food is sourced, and enjoying and being present in all areas of your life.”

She also taught gardening at Anneliese School and started a farmers’ market. “My focus is hand picking and hand curating what is seasonally best. I was a food buyer for six years at Anneliese, and I came to understand food. I started teaching kids and ran the garden, educating them about planting and cooking, from seedlings to plants and field to table.”

in creating with customer

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Breit likes to educate her customers on the produce, such as how to store it

Translating these educating skills into The Salt Horse, Breit said, “I formed a network, researched and take pride in having products you won’t find anywhere else. There’s a story behind every product. Why do customers choose a certain cracker or pasta sauce here? People buy the story behind them. They look for these stories, such as why do people create a certain sauce, and it goes back to their family story.”

Breit is making her own family stories. “My kids are very much into school and activities. They are very active, club soccer, football and golf. I love this community and my friends. My boys were so fortunate to grow up here. There are so many good families. I can help by providing the community with amazing nutrient-dense foods to enjoy with their families. It’s so important. I care a lot about the families and this community.”

in creating packaged goods

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The Salt Horse stocks items that can’t be found anywhere else locally

Future plans

Breit has a multitude of plans for her business in the works: a patio space, farm-to-table lunch and dinners, screening documentary films, arts and crafts cooking classes (for adults and children), gift baskets and farm boxes. “The farm boxes include what I think is the best seasonally grown produce, with recipes and tips,” she said. “Farm baskets are convenient, and you don’t need to do much with the food, because high quality ingredients already have so much flavor. The prices are still very low compared to what’s in grocery stores, and we support local farmers. I want to start a charcuterie board workshop, where people can connect. I’d also like to start a book club and cook food related to the book.”

in creating kiss flower

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Kiss the Flower honeycomb, the purest form of honey 

Food pop ups are part of her plans, a “Meet the Maker” event. “For example, we’ll have a pizza maker come in and offer pizza and customers can talk to the chef.”

For customer convenience, they’ll be starting a local delivery service and provide curbside pickup.

So, visit The Salt Horse and create some amazing food memories.

The Salt Horse is located at 1360 S. Coast Highway, Laguna Beach.

For more information about The Salt Horse, go to, or call 949.303.9850.

Follow them on Instagram@thesalthorse.

Shaena Stabler, President & CEO -

Lana Johnson, Editor -

Tom Johnson, Publisher -

Dianne Russell is our Associate Editor.

Michael Sterling is our Webmaster & Designer.

Mary Hurlbut and Scott Brashier are our photographers.

Alexis Amaradio, Dennis McTighe, Marrie Stone, Sara Hall, Suzie Harrison and Theresa Keegan are our writers and/or columnists.

In Memoriam - Stu Saffer and Barbara Diamond.

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