What is the research process like for testing brine and spices?
This might be hard to explain. It starts with the freshest, tastiest vegetable -- something we would like to implement in our line. We have an idea of what direction we would like to take regarding the flavor profile. Certain flavors just typically go well with each other; for instance, carrot and ginger. We are limited to a few different vinegars: We use local apple cider from New Jersey, a white distilled from upstate New York, and imported white wine from France. A lot of our brines are made with the apple cider vinegar. After we decide on the basic foundation, spices or tertiary elements are discussed. For example, if we go with a spicy element then we like to balance that out with an earthy element like cumin, caraway, or celery seed. Some products are intricate, containing a large number of spices, and some remain simple with only a few spices or herbs to supplement the flavor of the vegetable.
How did you hear about the Good Food Awards, and how has the award affected your sales and general exposure?
We were contacted by Hannah Hausauer, who worked with the Seedling Project at the time and we were kind of under the gun to submit our products. I think I noticed the email about six hours before the deadline for submission, so Evelyn and I hastily decided on which product we wanted to submit, tasted some samples, and sent them off within the day.
The exposure has been great. Our vision as a business coincides perfectly with what the Good Food Awards represent. The Awards represent a call to where we need to go with food, philosophically. We put great thought into all of our practices and thankfully, the Good Food Awards recognize that.
Sales have increased, and we have garnered a handful of accounts from like-minded vendors throughout the country. We are very proud to be considered alongside such an esteemed group of talented food artisans.
Is there anything else you think people should know about your company, your personal history, or your interactions with farmers?
Well, we are just trying to produce the best possible product in the short span of time we have here in the Northeast. There is no real schtick behind what we are doing; natural ingredients, handmade and hand-packed products, sourced locally, and made with care using sustainable practices. We do work directly with farmers, meaning that we have a personal interaction with them; we shake hands, talk about the product, seasons, etc., rather than place an order over the phone or through a distributor.
We produce here in Brooklyn, but aren't necessarily defined by the locale. There is such a wonderful community here, and the amount of talent, thought, and care our community puts into our collective work is profound. However, Brooklyn isn't the center of the universe. There are other communities that give as much care and thought to the food being produced. And in many ways, they are more advanced and further down the sustainable road than we are here. But collectively, we find there is need for these sustainable practices and we are happy to be a small part of a larger community.
Image: Sour Puss Pickles.