The Art of Preservation:
Tales from a Pickled Convert
"Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers" is far more challenging to say than to do, especially when considering a peck is only about eight quarts and Justin Park and Tyler DuBois are hand-packing and pickling gallons of cucumbers and other fresh veggies daily over at The Real Dill.
Confession: I do not like pickles. This distaste could be due to my childhood memories of those florescent green monsters sold at the the middle school concession stand. Who knows. I've made pickles, I've served pickles, I've eaten a variety of other pickled vegetables, but pickled cucumbers are a food that I have kept at a far distance from my own plate. So when Eric said that we were going to go visit the guys over at The Real Dill, my instinct was to say, "Thanks, but no thanks!" But something in my gut told me it was time to re-train my palate and give it a try.
I was immediately impressed. Justin and Tyler started The Real Dill in 2012 and they have grown rapidly. You could say this isn't your grandma's pickling operation, but the reality is that it isn't far off. Everything is made by hand -- from cutting the cucumbers to labeling and delivering. These guys and their team of Dillionaires (yes, the Dillionaires) have their fingerprints all over every single product, giving them complete control from start to finish.
We walked into a warehouse where five Dillionaires worked peacefully to an impressive hip-hop compilation. Warm vinegar smells drifted through the air. Hundreds of jars were perfectly lined along a table spanning the entire length of the room, brimming with fresh herbs and spices, waiting with anticipation to meet their vegetable partners. Tyler pulled out a jar of this particular variety for us to try. They weren't cucumbers, but instead one of their limited specialty lines. I loved them! But like I mentioned, I can handle other pickled vegetables.
After a tour of the space and more information on their systems and sourcing, we discussed the primary reason for our interest: dirt. Processing facilities like The Real Dill produce a significant amount of food waste. And when we hear vegetable waste we hear more than just decaying cucumbers; we hear fertile soil and lush gardens. Thus The Real Dill will be handing over those cucumber scraps while we work towards a better composting system for our backyard gardens in Westwood. Oh, and don't worry, you will be able to snag some of these pickles (like Caraway Garlic or Habanero Horseradish) through the Buying Club very soon.
This partnership with The Real Dill (pioneered by Justin and Tyler!) is a remarkable example of a full circle local food system that we are proud to be a part of, and one we are committed to growing.
And while we are on the subject of growth, turns out I'm growing up too. Justin sent us home with a jar of Spicy Carribeans and I dove in. Thanks to these fabulous artisans, I am a changed woman. Now there is a marketing testimony for you!
What's on the Menu?
Place your order now for the Buying Club, and you can pick up your items Thursday or Sunday of this week. Don't delay, place your order today!