Summer is really not the time when people think about salt -- unless it's in the context of margaritas. After all, with triple-digit temperatures across parts of the Midwest recently, who's really thinking about highway deicing salt? By the same token, it's not as though shares of Compass Minerals (NYSE:CMP) have really fallen off the ledge into value territory.

While I mean no disrespect to the managers of this Kansas-based minerals company, its financial results in the summer months never amount to much. So while revenue was up 11% (on 7% higher product sales), operating income was down 16% as reported, and adjusted EBITDA was down 3%, I find it hard to get too worked up about the results. After all, we're talking about a quarter where the sales volume is less than half of that seen in quarters with winter/early spring months.

That said, there were still some good operational results to talk about. A strike in Ontario hurt production but ended in early June, and the company seems confident about making up for lost time later in the year. What's more, bidding for the upcoming deicing season is about halfway finished, and the company has secured about 10% higher prices on average. While I would expect that higher costs (freight, fuel, etc.) will suck up some of that, it nevertheless strikes me as encouraging.

I'm still a fan of semiobscure mineral plays like Compass, Brush Engineered (NYSE:BW), and Amcol (NYSE:ACO). After all, being a low-cost supplier of an important material gives you an ongoing competitive edge. And let's face it -- no one's staying up late at night figuring out a way to replace highway deicing salt.

While Compass is not competition-free (thanks to Cargill and Rohm & Haas (NYSE:ROH), among others), it has a pretty good long-term record of consistent growth and dividend payouts. I don't see anything about the business that would suddenly accelerate its growth rate in a lasting way, so I think that Fools should be careful about the price at which they invest. In that respect, I think today's price is a little high, but folks looking for a high-quality, high-yield idea would do well to check on it from time to time in the hopes of finding a bargain.

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Fool contributor Stephen Simpson has no financial interest in any stocks mentioned (that means he's neither long nor short the shares).