Meeting ‘The Beast’: Field Trip to Martin’s Farm Composting
Real Pickles staff field trip to Martin's Farm Composting

When we arrived at Martin’s Farm in Greenfield, MA on a Monday in mid-September, Adam Martin was in the driveway, repairing a yellow machine the size of a fire truck with “The Beast” written on its side. Adam welcomed us with a wide smile and grease-streaked cheeks. We had traveled up the road to Martin’s…Read More

‘Tis the Season for Stinging Nettles… In Sauerkraut!
Stinging Nettles

This guest blog is written by our friend Zoe Gardner, a self-proclaimed herb nerd and plant lover with over 20 years of experience working with medicinal plants.  A specialist in the quality and safety of medicinal plants, she is the author of the 2nd edition of the American Herbal Products Association Botanical Safety Handbook, a…Read More

Supporting a Regional Food System: An Interview with Myers Produce

As you may know, here at Real Pickles we are deeply committed to buying our vegetables only from Northeast family farms and selling our products only within the Northeast. One way in which we are able to achieve this, and in turn help to build a strong, organic and regional food system, is by working with…Read More

Small Batches Packed with Mission and Flavor
Real Pickles Small Batch Line

Have you seen these yet?  The new Real Pickles small batch line is hitting the shelves of a few stores and our webstore this month.  And if you see them, don’t blink!  As the name suggests, we only made a small amount of each product, so they may be gone the next time you look.…Read More

Farm to Fermentation to Feast
Real Pickles Harvest Dinner Prep

As the leaves turn and summer – somewhat reluctantly – gives way to fall, there is a sweet moment across the agrarian farmscapes of the Northeast. A precious time between the hot sticky days of summer and the bitter cold of winter where the last of the heat-loving crops and the first frost-sweetened storage vegetables…Read More

Creating Social Change, Together

The extraordinary political events taking place in our country are affecting us deeply here at Real Pickles Co-operative, as they are for so many others. They highlight how far we have to go to build the just, democratic, and sustainable society we wish to see.  We are reminded why all of us here take Real…Read More

The Scoop on our New Turmeric Kraut!

This guest post is written by our friend Brittany Wood Nickerson, a well-respected herbalist and health educator with a background in Western, Ayurvedic and Chinese herbal medicine. Her treatment and teaching approach emphasize personal empowerment, preventative home healthcare and whole body wellness. Brittany is the founder and primary instructor at Thyme Herbal in Western Massachusetts,…Read More

Calculating Food Miles at Real Pickles

In the course of preparing our latest annual report, we learned some interesting things about how far Real Pickles products travel from farm to fermentation to fork! Since Real Pickles’ beginnings in 2001, one of our key social commitments has been to source our vegetables only from Northeast farms and to sell our products only…Read More

Behind the Scenes at Real Pickles: An Interview with Heather Wernimont, Fermentation Manager

At Real Pickles, we’ve been fermenting Northeast-grown vegetables for well over a decade.  When Real Pickles got started in 2001, there were only a small handful of commercial vegetable fermenters anywhere in the country.  We’ve learned a lot over the years! I recently talked with Heather Wernimont, our Fermentation Manager and newest worker-owner of the…Read More

One Year as a Co-op

We just wrapped up our fiscal year at Real Pickles. In many ways, it was a typical year for the business. Interest in fermented foods has continued to rise, and the year was another strong one for us. As is often the case, the uncertainties of the growing season necessitated some creative problem solving (a…Read More

Beyond Local: The Case for Regional Food

Where should we get our food from?  How far need it travel? These are essential questions for anyone who wants a better food system – one that is ecologically sound and socially just.  After all, a big impetus for the rapidly growing movement to transform the food system is the modern-day reality that places like…Read More

Real Pickles: Financing Case Study

Community Investment in the Local Food System How a small local food business in western Massachusetts preserved its social mission through transitioning to a worker-owned cooperative and using an innovative financing strategy. Authored by: Jonathan Ward, Special Projects Intern, Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA) With significant contributions from: Margaret Christie, Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA)…Read More

Why 8 hours of pickle tasting rocked my world…

Last weekend, Dan and I participated in the fourth annual Good Food Awards‘ judging event – in the pickle category.  We were psyched for this!  Not only did we get to travel to San Francisco and taste LOTS of incredible pickles – we also got to meet new pickle people and connect with pickle friends…Read More

Real Pickles and the Path to a Co-operative Economy

We are excited to share a few words written by Erbin Crowell, Executive Director of the Neighboring Food Co-op Association (NFCA) and local expert on cooperative business.  Erbin was a huge help to the Real Pickles Co-op founding group as we forged ahead with our transition to a cooperative structure.  He earned his Master of…Read More

A Community Perspective: Investing in a Better Food System!

We are honored to feature this guest post from the leadership team of the Pioneer Valley Slow Money chapter.  The burgeoning Slow Money movement is about “investing as if food, farms and fertility mattered.”  We at Real Pickles are excited to be offering a local investment opportunity of this kind as we work to transition…Read More

A Community Perspective: Keeping It Local!

Margaret Christie is a rock star.  Especially when it comes to our local food system here in western Massachusetts.  As executive director of Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA) in the late 1990s, she oversaw the launch of the hugely successful “Be a Local Hero, Buy Locally Grown” marketing campaign.  In her on-going work as…Read More

“We don’t want no climate drama!”

Who does?  Dan and I traveled down to Washington D.C. this past weekend to be part of Forward on Climate, the biggest climate rally in U.S. history.  We joined over 40,000 people on the Mall near the Washington Monument, and then marched to the White House to make sure that our message was heard.  Our…Read More

Why I Want to be a Worker-Owner…Again

When I first starting working with Dan and Addie at Real Pickles four years ago, I was impressed by their delicious fermented vegetables and commitment to family farms here in the Pioneer Valley.  I was also intrigued by how they thoughtfully rejected the conventional wisdom that success for a natural foods business means getting national…Read More

We’re Going Co-op!

by Dan and Addie We have big news to share:  Real Pickles is becoming a worker co-operative! Along with Real Pickles staff, we have been laying the groundwork for a co-op transition for a number of months now, and earlier this summer – during the UN’s International Year of Cooperatives – we officially decided to…Read More

Fermentation is hot (off the presses)!

Apparently we at Real Pickles are in on a hip, hot, and exciting trend.  Judging by the release of TWO excellent (and beautiful) pickle books in recent months, there is no shortage of things to say about pickling of all kinds, fermented or otherwise.  We are also proud to report that Real Pickles is recognized…Read More

Regional Distribution: An Interview with Joe Angello

At Real Pickles, we have always had an unconventional approach to distributing our fermented vegetables, choosing to work with small independently-owned regional distributors rather than large national ones.  Angello’s Distributing, based in upstate New York, was the first distributor to carry our products.  I recently talked with Joe Angello, its founder and owner, about his…Read More

People Power, Not Corporate Power

Big corporations are a central part of modern American life: We buy an overwhelming proportion of our goods and services from them, we absorb their advertisements nearly everywhere we go, we invest our retirement savings in them, and we depend on the latest twists and turns in their average stock values to tell us whether…Read More

Good Food, Good Times

As honored as we are to be two-time winners of the Good Food Awards, the best part of the experience was in the details (as is usually the case). In our line of work, this is as close as we come to a professional meeting or academic conference. When else have we been able to…Read More

Good Food Awards speech: “Pickles Are Not Obsolete!”

Addie and I are just back from the Good Food Awards in San Francisco, where we were honored for the 2nd year in a row for our Organic Garlic Dill Pickles.  While our first experience at the Good Food Awards in 2011 was quite special, this time around we were fortunate enough to receive an…Read More

Tips From Pickle Fanatics

While Winter tends to be a quiet time of year for making pickles, it is undeniably a great time for eating them. Fresh local produce is harder to come by and the tangy flavor of fermented foods is a perfect accompaniment to hearty cold weather fare. When it comes to fermented vegetables, the Real Pickles…Read More

Why Our Food System Needs the Occupy Movement

Here in western Massachusetts, we are fortunate to be part of a community brimming with exciting efforts to build a new and better food system.  Farms of all kinds are starting up or heading in new directions: offering winter CSA shares, doing on-farm cheese or yogurt production, growing grains and selling them to local bakeries. …Read More

Lessons from a Muddy Season

Dave Chamutka of Chamutka Farm recently harvested the last of his 2011 cabbage crop and delivered it to our door.  By the next day, those cabbages were all peeled, cored, shredded, salted, and fermenting in barrels.  It was the final batch of vegetables for the year for us.  We’re now stocked up until next season…Read More

Occupy Wall Street: An Interview

As I noted last time, on the subject of Occupy Wall Street (OWS) and Real Pickles:  We are doing essentially the same work, even if employing different approaches to making change in the world, and from mostly different locales.  But, some actual connections are being made these days between the two efforts.  A couple weeks…Read More

Occupy Wall Street and Organic Pickles

In lower Manhattan and in cities and towns across the country, thousands of people have taken to the streets to demand change.  We are the 99%, they are saying, here to put an end to the societal injustices perpetuated by the 1%.  Those occupying Wall Street and elsewhere are speaking out against the concentration of…Read More