In 1993 I began this venture in my kitchen in West Haven Vermont, on the back side of Rattlesnake Ridge, and yes there are rattlesnakes in Vermont. I named my little company Rattlesnake Ridge Country Gourmet.
My debut items were Green Tomato Pickles and Rhubarb Jam and a few craft items, all displayed neatly on a small card table at the Rutland County Farmers Market.
In a few years this evolved, and I was making jams and jellies, pickles and relishes, flavored vinegars, herb mixes, and soup and chili mixes. I was having fun with it, but it got to be way too much. I began to pare things down, get rid of things that were not as popular, or were too difficult.
During this time I had a few personal life changes and moved from West Haven to Burlington.
I was approached by a local distributor who expressed interest in my products. We talked and worked on a few things together. She suggested that I change my focus to just pickles. She had no pickle producers that were being represented, and my products were selling well with her.
Then she suggested that I change my brand name and put “Vermont” in the name, people did not associate rattlesnakes and pickles together well. This turned out to be very good advice.
In 2008, Vermont Pickle was created and registered. Sales jumped by almost 200%.
I began using the Vermont Food Venture Center in Fairfax, VT. I worked with director there on recipe development and larger batch production. This was relatively local and very convenient. This worked well for several years. Then the operation moved to Hardwick, VT. This was a blow; very inconvenient being over 2 hours away.
A producer friend found space in Winooski and opened her own small commercial kitchen. She rents out time in the kitchen for producers like me who make their own products. I cook at the kitchen several times a month.
Objectives and goals for Vermont Pickle are to produce a quality product that has a fresh from the garden taste. Policies that I plan to adhere to are as follows:
Buy fresh produce and as local as possible when in season
Use real Vermont Maple Syrup as a sweetener, not refined sugars, thus supporting the local Economy
Using quality ingredients that are gluten free and Non GMO
I have attended the Better Process Control School at Cornell University in 2012, I am ServSafe certified, and all of my products are registered with the FDA.