Check out some of our latest happenings...
We are thrilled to welcome four new member-owners into our co-operative! K Adler, Gillis MacDougall, Amy Leprade and Victor Signore have joined fourteen other member-owners, raising the percentage of co-op members to 73% of all staff at Real Pickles! We strive to create good local jobs with shared profits that empower staff to direct the future of the business. Vegetable coordinator Victor Signore says he is “excited to be a part of something that is having a positive effect in supporting our local agriculture, local economy and our community. Being a worker-owner means that I can help shape the future of Real Pickles”. Amy Leprade, production and shipping assistant, adds, “What excites me the most (about becoming a member-owner at Real Pickles) is the opportunity to build alliances with like-minded people, which can help shape the kind of community I wish to live in.” Fermentation coordinator K Adler says, “It feels fulfilling to be participating in a process that has a history to be admired and a future that is attainable.” Production assistant Gillis MacDougall is the company’s youngest co-op member at 18 years old. He says that Real Pickles has played an important role throughout his life and it made sense to him to become a member-owner. Real Pickles is proud to be part of the co-operative movement to build and strengthen democratic economies throughout the local community and beyond.
We’re so excited to welcome TWO new worker-owners into our co-op, Kate Hunter and Kat Smith!! As a worker co-operative, Real Pickles strives to create good local jobs with shared profits and empower our staff to direct the future of our business. We are proud to be part of the co-operative movement to build and strengthen democratic economies in our community and beyond. Kat says she’s “excited to be part of a team of people that is working toward restructuring the way businesses are run in the community.” Kate is glad to be taking on this meaningful role in a business with a mission that she believes in. By expanding workplace democracy in our business, we ensure that there are more voices shaping our collective economic future. We are so excited for Kat and Kate to join us in determining what our co-op will look like in the years to come!
We invite you to take a look at our FY’21 Annual Report highlighting some of our work toward building a stronger and more just food system in the past year. In the report, you’ll find details on our handling of the pandemic and how we supported our staff throughout, while also making good and healthy food available to our customers. We also share news on our newest building project to increase our resilience, an exciting community award, our TWO new worker owners, and our commitment to racial justice. Check it Out Here>>
With last fiscal year’s Annual Report (ending March 2020), we’re excited to share some of our mission-related work from the past year, much of which seemed to come in pairs! We welcomed two new worker-owners, accepted two Good Food Awards, cultivated a variety of farm partnerships that resulted in two fun and tasty small batch products! The report also covers our initial navigation of the COVID crisis as well as a statement in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter network. Check it Out Here>>
Real Pickles is in operation under the COVID-19 Essential Services provision within Massachusetts Governor Baker’s recent emergency order. We are operating with reduced staff and following strict guidance established by the MA Department of Public Health, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, and US Food & Drug Administration. All staff who can work remotely are doing so, and those working on-site are following social distancing protocols in all aspects of production, shipping, deliveries, and office work.
Our top priorities include:
- caring for our employees and keeping them safe;
- continuing to provide nourishing food to our community during this time when health and nutrition are of utmost importance;
- supplying regional grocers who are experiencing surging demand and intermittent distribution and supply; and
- successfully steering our business through these challenging times so that we can continue to provide healthy food, meaningful jobs and ownership opportunities into the future.
To all our customers, please know we are following strict protocols at all times to keep our product and employees safe.
For any questions, or to arrange curbside pickup, feel free to contact us at email@example.com.
Wishing everyone health and safety during this difficult time.
– The crew at Real Pickles.
On Friday January 17th, Real Pickles co-owners Annie Winkler and Greg Nichols accepted Good Food Award medals for our Organic Beet Kvass and Organic Nettle Kraut! The San Francisco ceremony was hosted by renowned farm labor activist Dolores Huerta, food author Michael Pollan, and chef Alice Waters. The Good Food Awards recognizes American food and drink crafters who demonstrate both a mastery of their craft and a commitment to maintaining exceptionally high social and environmental standards in their work.
A timely example of Real Pickles’ commitment to responsible food is our recent 31-kW solar array which, installed beside our existing 17-kW array, makes our facility 100% solar powered. “Environmental sustainability and strong regional food systems are at the core of our mission,” says Dan Rosenberg, founder and general manager. “We are always seeking ways to reduce our carbon emissions, increase our use of renewable energy, and support policies that push for climate mitigation.”Read More
Join us in Brattleboro, VT on January 18th, 11am – 3pm for a celebration of fermented food! Winter is the time to appreciate all the ways we preserve food. From kombucha to kimchi, salsa to sriracha, pickles to preserves – if it’s in a jar, can or bottle you’ll find it there! This tastebud-tingling event is free and open to the public. Come to the River Garden to learn about and purchase a wide array of fermented, pickled and preserved food!
Hosted by Strolling of the Heifers and sponsored by Real Pickles
- PRESENTATIONS & WORKSHOPS THROUGHOUT THE DAY!
- 12-12:30: Probiotic Beet Shots by Leda Scheintaub of Dosa Kitchen
- 1-1:30: Introduction to Vegetable Fermentation with Real Pickles
- 2-2:30: Fermented Foods and the Gut Microbiome presented by Ana Maria Moise
We’re proud to announce that TWO Real Pickles products have been named Good Food Awards Finalists for 2020!! The Organic Beet Kvass and Organic Nettle Kraut both had high scores in the blind tasting competition and met the strict vetting criteria for sustainability. We’re proud to be among 307 companies in the running for a 2020 Good Food Award. With a demonstrated commitment to environmental stewardship and growing their businesses in harmony with a better food system, these outstanding crafters represent the nation’s best in delicious, sustainable fare.
We’re excited to share several great stories of our mission-related work in our 2019 Annual Report, including our new solar array that makes us 100% solar powered! We also highlight scientific and community business collaborations, two new worker-owners, and our thoughts on a climate-resilient food system. And, our Annual Report welcomes a new crop of socially-minded investors supporting our work for a better food system! Check it out>>
We made new investments in renewable energy this year! In the fall, we installed a solar hot water system on the south side of our building with help from Spartan Solar based here in Greenfield. We saw instant reductions in our natural gas usage, and we look forward to the system providing all of our hot water in the summer. We hired our worker co-op neighbors PV Squared to install a 31 kW photovoltaic system on our flat roof. The array is made up of 2,000 square feet of panels and the generated power is shared between the two businesses, Real Pickles and PV Squared. Along with our original 17 kW array installed in 2011, Real Pickles will be once again 100% solar powered!
We are so excited to share the news that our Organic Garlic Dills AND our Organic Garlic Kraut received top honors at the 2019 Good Food Awards!
The winners were announced Friday January 11th at a 900-person gala at the historic San Francisco War Memorial & Performing Arts Center. The Good Food Awards recognizes American food and drink crafters who create tasty, authentic and responsible products and, in doing so, better the nation’s food system. Read More
On the historic day of the 2018 midterm elections, the Good Food Foundation announced that Real Pickles was among 324 companies in the running for a 2019 Good Food Award. With a demonstrated commitment to fostering land stewardship and cultivating social good, these outstanding food and drink crafters, many of them immigrants, represent the diversity of America and embody democratic values.Read More
AMHERST, Mass. – University of Massachusetts Amherst food scientists have mapped and characterized microbial populations at Real Pickles’ facility and report that its microbiome was distinct between production and fermentation areas and that the raw vegetables themselves – cabbages destined for sauerkraut – were the main source of fermentation-related microbes in production areas rather than handling or other environmental sources. Read More
Real Pickles and Hosta Hill are teaming up for an in-depth presentation on home-scale vegetable fermentation! In this 1.5 hour workshop you’ll learn everything you need to know about fermenting vegetables at home, with information that can be applied to sauerkraut, kimchi, cucumber pickles, and kvass. This event will provide beginners with the confidance to begin experimenting with lactic-acid fermentation in their own kitchen while also providing experienced fermenters with some new techniques to refine their process.
Be sure to check out our newest small batch flavor: Organic Nettle Kraut! Packed with herbal nutrition, fresh organic Vermont nettles bring their vibrant spring flavor to traditional sauerkraut. Add this nutrient-dense condiment to your plate this fall for some cold-season nourishment. Available for a limited time.
Look for it at these stores:
Probiotics, prebiotics, and now symbiotics? Everybody’s talking about the gut microbiome and its importance for human health- but what does it actually look like to live in a way that supports the bacteria in our bodies?
“Fermented Foods, Nutrition, and the Gut Microbiome”
October 24, 2018, 6:30-8:00 pm
River Valley Co-op, 330 North King Street, Northampton, MA
Seating is limited – register here!
We’ve completed our fifth year as a worker co-operative, and we are thriving! As a healthy business with nearly half of our employees engaged in ownership, we know that strong partnerships with our community are central to our success. We are deeply grateful to all our partners – the talented organic farmers who supply our top-quality ingredients, our loyal customers committed to our products and mission, our distributors who share our vision for a healthy regional food system, our community investors and lenders, and so many more. Read all about it in our latest Annual Report! >>>
Our first-annual Small Batch Line is just that: small batches of fermented vegetables! We’ve teamed up with our local farmers to bring you three delicious, fresh and seasonal recipes for 2018: Spicy Carrot Escabeche, Shallot and Herb Kraut, and Hakurei Turnip with Dulse. Be sure to try them soon, as they won’t last long! Read More
We are excited to announce that Real Pickles has been named the 2017 Western Massachusetts Sustainable Small Business of the Year by the Sustainable Business Network of Massachusetts! This award is presented to leading local independent businesses in Western and Eastern Massachusetts who are helping to build economies that are local, green and fair. We are proud to be recognized for doing work that is so central to our mission of helping to build a more sustainable food system! Read More
Announcing our 2017 Annual Report!! We’re excited to share some of our recent work in this past year to improve our staff wages & benefits, build local democratic ownership, and promote action on climate change. Health insurance is the big news under benefits – we’re proud to offer a plan to all staff who work 30+ hours! Read about our three newest owners, Katie, CJ, and Lucy; and about our kitchen crew member Russ, who joined us through a local jail re-entry program that supports soon-to-be released inmates returning to the workforce. There are also some great photos of our newest family members (supported by our family medical leave benefit), our participation in the Women’s and Climate Marches, and of course our new labels! We hope you enjoy… Check it out here.
We need to stand together to protect our climate, our health, and our communities. In response to Trump administration’s latest executive order that begins to repeal the Clean Power Plan and environmental protections, the Peoples Climate Movement (PCM) is demonstrating itself as a massive and wide-reaching movement in opposition to this dangerous step that puts people and the planet at grave risk. The PCM is a broad-based ground-breaking coalition of hundreds of faith-based, labor unions, indigenous, civil rights and environmental justice groups based around the country working together to build bold solutions that tackle climate change, rooted in economic and racial justice. Real Pickles ran a promotional campaign during spring 2017 to support The People’s Climate Mobilization on April 29th 2017 in Washington DC, and many of us were present in DC and at various locations across the region. To change everything, we need everyone! peoplesclimate.org
We are so excited to announce that starting this month our jars are sporting a brand new label design! As we begin our 17th year, we celebrate our deep commitment to the values on which Real Pickles was founded. We think our new labels reflect the mission that drives us every day to build a better food system. With our transition to a worker co-op four years ago, we ensured that our mission would be protected for the long term – that our business would continue its work in support of healthy food, a resilient regional food system, and vibrant local and democratic economies for many years to come. With three new worker owners this year, our mission is going strong! So look out for our rainbow of new labels at your local store, and let’s all continue to work together to help build a better food system! #PackedWithAMission
We’re proud to be included in a new report featuring 25 enterprises from across the US that actually help make communities more resilient (rather than extracting wealth and resources), based on Transition Network’s REconomy framework for resilience-building enterprises! The 25 enterprises were nominated by Transitioners and community resilience-builders across the country and reviewed by a team of experts. We’re excited to be recognized along with these other great organizations! Check out the report here…
Our third Annual Report for Real Pickles Cooperative features highlights of our mission-related work for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2016. This year, we highlight our efforts to partner with our community to build a better food system. With assistance from two community loan funds, we grew our fermentation space to allow us to annually purchase 97,000 more pounds of regionally-grown organic vegetables! We partnered with Old Friends farm to bring you our newest product – Organic Turmeric Kraut. Yum. Plus we calculated how many pickle dollars were spent regionally to operate Real Pickles: 93% stayed in our community and supported our staff, our farmers, local vendors and mission-aligned organizations. Read on to learn about Kitchen Garden Farm, our newest Good Food Award, and our work with a team of engineering students at UMass Amherst. Check it out.
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Real Pickles’ Organic Garlic Dill Pickles won a national award at the Good Food Awards ceremony in San Francisco.
Co-owners Dan Rosenberg and Addie Rose Holland joined about 800 farmers, food artisans, chefs and journalists from around the country in San Francisco on Friday for the Good Food Awards ceremony. “We’re thrilled to be recognized for the flavor of our pickles, as well as the positive environmental and social impact of our business,” said Holland after the winners had been announced. ‘It’s so inspiring to be at the Good Food Awards and to meet like-minded small producers from around the country.” Read More
Take a look at our second Annual Report for Real Pickles Co-operative, featuring highlights of our mission-related work for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2015. In this year’s report, we calculated how many miles our vegetables travel on average from farm to fermentation, and fermentation to fork – the answer is: not many! We feature a farmer and a retailer, and report on where the vast majority of our waste goes (to the compost). You can also read about our worker-owner education program and our continuing efforts to build the New Economy through our co-operative business model and support in community capital-raising. It was a great year! Check it out…
For the past couple of years, we’ve been sponsoring an amateur bike racing team of passionate cyclists in the Pioneer Valley. These folks are not only committed to mountains, mud bogs, hard pedaling and sweet views, they are also diligent eaters of healthy, fermented, probiotic foods – like Real Pickles! Our sponsorship includes a downpayment on their cool jerseys (sporting the Real Pickles logo and veggies) as well as a regular discounted supply of fermented veggies and pickle brine. There’s an historic conviction among many athletes, recently substantiated by science, that drinking pickle brine reduces muscle cramps. The members of the Real Pickles Racing Team are getting the highest quality brine to squelch their cramps, which appears to help them win races! You can drink pickle brine too – and ride in style with the rest of the pickle crew by ordering your own Real Pickles bike jersey here…
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Dan Rosenberg and Addie Rose Holland of Greenfield-based Real Pickles joined top artisan food producers from around the country for the Good Food Awards ceremony at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco. Real Pickles was awarded a top honor at the event for their Organic Beet Kvass, a fermented beverage traditional to Eastern Europe. Read More
We’ve completed our Annual Report for fiscal year 2014, check it out! You’ll find it filled with numbers and stories from our first year as a co-operative. It documents our highlights and major accomplishments from the past year and describes the multiple (financial, social, & environmental) bottom lines of our business. The report includes a farmer profile, a map of our product & supply chain, details on our environmental impact, staff employment and compensation, community engagement, and our brand new 5-year vision statement. Take a look to learn more about how we measure our success!
A new publication in CISA’s Specialty Producer Profiles Series tells the story of our transition to a worker-owned co-operative and the community investment campaign that made it all possible. This account details our process of sorting through the financing options, seeking advice within our community, and launching our campaign. This could be a good resource for other businesses who are looking to raise capital direct from their local communities. Thanks to CISA for putting it all together so nicely! View the Case Study…
Thanks to huge support from our community, a successful community investment campaign, and many months of hard work from our founding co-op team here at Real Pickles, this morning we signed the documents that made the conversion official. Real Pickles is now “Real Pickles Co-operative.” We are still the same folks who bring you healthy, fermented veggies from regional, organic farms – but now we have expanded our mission to include a democratic workplace and access to ownership for our employees. We have also secured our social mission for the long term! More info on our Invest page…
We are excited to announce the latest step in our plan to go co-op: An opportunity to invest in Real Pickles! To help make our transition to a worker co-operative a reality, we are selling non-voting preferred stock in Real Pickles. We are able to accept investments from residents of Massachusetts and Vermont. The minimum investment is $2,500. We are seeking to raise a total of $500,000, to allow for the co-operative purchase of the business and to provide funds necessary for us to increase production of our Northeast-grown, organic pickles. Investing in Real Pickles is an excellent way to support our transition to a co-operative structure – and our continuing work in helping to build a vibrant, regional, organic food system! Read the details on our Invest page…
We have big news to share: Real Pickles is becoming a worker co-operative!
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 make the switch! Everyone here is excited about the plan to convert Real Pickles to a worker co-op, and we will be working to make it happen over the next few months. We think a worker co-op structure will be an outstanding way to help ensure that Real Pickles will succeed far into the future – producing delicious and healthy food for people and making a lasting contribution to building a new and better food system! Read the full story in the Ferment Blog…
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 proud to report that Real Pickles is recognized in both! The Art of Fermentation is a follow-up to Sandor Ellix Katz’s wildly popular Wild Fermentation, and in his chapter on “Commercial Enterprises” he includes much input from Real Pickles’ Dan Rosenberg on tips and challenges of commercial-scale fermentation. The Pickled Pantry is a fantastically thorough reference for pickles of all kinds, with recipes for making the pickles themselves as well as recipes for using finished pickles in other dishes. The author, Andrea Chesman, also features stories of other picklers, including a profile of “The Real Folks behind Real Pickles”. We even have a testimonial on the back cover! These books are both essential additions to the literature on DIY fermentation and pickle-making. We highly recommend them! Read more in the Ferment Blog…
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – For the second year in a row, Real Pickles was awarded a top honor for their Organic Garlic Dill Pickles at the Good Food Awards in San Francisco, hosted by renowned chef Alice Waters. The Good Food Awards highlight outstanding American food producers who are making food that is exceptionally delicious and supports sustainability and social good.
In addition to the pickle honor, Real Pickles’ co-owner Dan Rosenberg was among those selected to address the audience of approximately 400 artisan food producers and other invited guests assembled for the ceremony. In his speech, Rosenberg lauded the Good Food Awards for its efforts to change the way we think about food in the U.S. Read More
Real Pickles has been named a Finalist in the 2012 Good Food Awards! We captured two of the four spots in the Pickle category for the East region, with both our Organic Garlic Dill Pickles and Organic Red Cabbage chosen as contenders for Winner status. The Good Food Awards, now in its second year, seeks to highlight food producers making food that is “tasty, authentic, and responsibly produced”. Last January, we were honored as a Winner for our Organic Garlic Dill Pickles in a ceremony hosted by renowned restauranteur Alice Waters. In January 2012, we will learn whether we have won a second time!
The social ferment in the streets these days has inspired us at Real Pickles to start our blog, Ferment. Dan leads off with some thoughts about the connections between making organic pickles and the Occupy Wall Street movement. Check it out and tell us what you think!
Real Pickles is proud to announce that our 311 Wells Street facility is now powered entirely with solar energy! In April 2011, we hired our neighbor, Pioneer Valley Photovoltaics, to install a 17 kW photovoltaic system for us. Consisting of 80 solar panels located on our rooftop, the system will annually produce over 18,000 kWh, more than enough to supply all of our facility’s electricity needs. We’re excited about this opportunity to contribute to the effort to reduce pollution and combat global climate change! Read the full story about our facility, including its energy efficiency features and photovoltaic system.
Real Pickles was honored at CISA’s Annual Meeting the other night with a Local Hero Award for “helping to build the local food system of the future” through our work. We have huge respect for CISA and their “Be A Local Hero, Buy Locally Grown” campaign, so it’s a thrill to be recognized by them. Thanks, CISA!
Our local non-profit, Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture, has published a case study of Real Pickles: Processing for Local Agriculture Case Study Series: Real Pickles. How do we as a society go about building strong local/regional food systems? What are some of the key challenges and how might they be overcome? This study focuses on lessons learned at Real Pickles as we have worked to increase the year-round supply in the Northeast of high quality foods produced from locally-raised ingredients. Happy reading!
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Dan Rosenberg and Addie Holland of Greenfield-based Real Pickles joined top artisan food producers from around the country on Friday for the Good Food Awards ceremony at the Ferry Building in San Francisco. At the event, restauranteur and food activist Alice Waters announced the winners and, much to the couple’s delight, Real Pickles’ Organic Garlic Dills was on the list.
“We’re so pleased”, said Rosenberg after the winners had been announced. “When we started the business in 2001, there was little awareness of the flavor and health benefits of fermented foods. We think we make great pickles but to be recognized in this national setting is very exciting.”
Real Pickles uses traditional methods to make its line of fermented vegetables. Their Organic Garlic Dill Pickles, as with all of their products, are made with certified organic vegetables from local family farms, including Chamutka Farm in Whately and Atlas Farm in Deerfield. The garlic is sourced from Old Friends Farm in Amherst, and the dill from Riverland Farm in Sunderland. The pickles are available from area retailers including Green Fields Co-op Market in Greenfield, River Valley Market in Northampton, and many Whole Foods Market locations.
The Good Food Awards are given to artisan producers in five regions of the U.S. in seven categories: beer, charcuterie, cheese, chocolate, coffee, pickles and preserves, and highlight outstanding American food producers who are making food that is exceptionally delicious and supports sustainability and social good.
Real Pickles’ winning product was chosen from over 780 entries from around the country. There were four other winners from New England, including Barrington Coffee Roasting Company in Lee, Massachusetts, and Cellars at Jasper Hill in Greensboro, Vermont.