Food News

The Perfect Pickle

Behind RI's briniest business

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Fox Point Pickling Company began innocently enough. Two years ago, when Ziggy Goldfarb followed his wife to Providence, he bought a pickling kit “as a gag.” The combination of leftover vegetables from his CSA box and some underemployment led Ziggy to busy himself pickling. Eventually, through trial and error and a lot of experimentation with spices, he got rather good at it. The idea about a pickling business started to develop in his mind... ferment, if you will. When his contract for his marketing work in Boston expired, he began to take the idea more seriously. There are over 1,200 farms in Rhode Island, he realized, and no local pickling company. Why couldn’t his be making the Rhode Island pickle?

What separated this dream from so many other semi-serious unemployed musings was that it found an opportune incubator in Warren’s brand new Hope & Main project, whose expressed aim is to help food entrepreneurs like Ziggy in their first years of business. Ziggy had a good idea, and a good recipe, but as he explains, “I came from a different background; I worked in marketing and PR; I’ve never worked in a commercial kitchen.” For Ziggy, shopping around for a commercial code-compliant kitchen was prohibitively expensive, as he’d be learning on the job as he navigated foreign territory, all while paying for the privilege.

When Ziggy found out about Hope & Main, it seemed a perfect match. Apparently they concurred, as he was one of the first applications they accepted. Hope & Main offered him instruction in the use of a fully functional commercial kitchen, as well as the infra- structure and support necessary for all other aspects of the business. While he feels quite comfortable on the marketing end, Ziggy has found this operational instruction and their mentoring programs invaluable. For example, he spoke highly of a recent workshop on product pricing. Led by Blount Fine Foods for Hope & Main, it helped bring clarity to what would have otherwise involved some element of guesswork.

Turning to the pickling itself, Ziggy’s will keep things simple at first with just garlic dill pickles and the spicy dills for those who “like a bit of kick.” Sales will be fairly streamlined as well, keeping to farmers markets as well as at select gourmet retail outlets. On the sourcing side, he will of course be using our local farms. At first he will keep things small, but next year he hopes to build a big inventory by “working his [acidic brine] off over the summer.” Ziggy also has some future plans for product when he gets up and running. One idea is for seasonal small batch runs, for instance pickled pumpkin come fall. Another is for a bloody mary mix, which he trialed to thirsty friends last summer with great success.