What qualifies as gourmet food? Because when I first think of gourmet, I think of Ratatouille. Barring my questionable analogies, I still believe that all Epicureans can appreciate a good, gourmet pickle. At least, that’s what I think about while talking with Jim Lawlor, Co-Founder of Pickled Pink Foods. And I’m sure that there are plenty convertors-in-waiting this season; the six-year-old company welcomed two new products to join the eclectic roster.
“For the last 18-24 months, we’ve really ramped up our production for mainstream grocery,” Jim explains. “We’ve seen huge growth in the mainstream grocery scene along with specialty chains. Recently, we just rolled out two brand new items, Garlic Dill Pickles and Honey Cinnamon Beets.”
Pickled Pink first found its roots back in 2013. At the time, Jim’s partner and Co-Founder, Charlie Stephenson, actually didn’t eat pickles. However, Stephenson overcame his aversion after he tasted his wife’s family recipe that turned into a successful business. Stephenson isn’t by any means an Anton Ego, but his newfound appreciation for his wife’s pickles brought forth a new Southern treat.
“The running funny story is that Charlie, born and raised in Alabama, hates pickles,” Jim recounts. “His wife was making the family recipe of this sweet, gourmet pickle for Christmas in 2012. Charlie still doesn’t eat pickles, but he finally tried them and said, ‘Wow, these are really good. I normally hate pickles, but if I like them, then other people will like them too.’ We meet up in early 2013 and he said, ‘What do you think about giving this a shot?’ Cue the infamous, ‘How hard can this be?’” Jim laughs.
The pair reformulated the family recipe to what is now known as, their Sweet Gourmet Pickle. Jim took his hotel restaurant know-how and brought Pickled Pink Foods—a name devised courtesy of Stephenson’s wife, Candy—to its first show. Pickled Pink, not six months old at the time, brought its homemade gourmet pickles to the Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market and came out with almost 100 clients in 19 states. From there, the two businessmen packed their Sweet Gourmet Pickle with two new additions, Sweet Heat Jalapeños and Spiced Watermelon Pickles, to travel through the South, hitting up all the local gourmet shops. The rest, as some would say, is history. Now, six years later, the company offers nine flavors of pickle-y goodness on both its site and in most major distributors and retailers nationwide:
The pickler’s 16 oz gourmet pickles are all-natural, preservative free, shelf-stable, and pickled for a purpose. Pickled Pink is a proud supporter of Hunter’s Hotline, a telephone support system for students in some Alabama schools to help save lives by reporting suspicious or unsafe activity including bullying, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, or other issues weighing heavily on teens.
Sweet, spicy, and selfless, Pickled Pink brings a little bit of the South to everybody in the country. Keep reading Deli Market News as we bring more specialty foods into the spotlight.