by Addie Rose Holland
Co-founder & Worker-owner, Real Pickles
It all started when Dan began making traditional pickles in 1999 after attending a workshop at a Northeast Organic Farming Association conference. And now, here we are in 2017. What began as an interest in preserving the local harvest has transformed into supporting our regional economy and further evolved into a thriving cooperative business!
Real Pickles is a small, worker-owned cooperative producing fermented pickled products that are raw, vinegar-free, 100% organic, and locally grown. Real Pickles is committed to promoting human and ecological health by providing people with delicious, nourishing food and by working toward a regional, organic food system.
At Real Pickles, we align our goals and operations with the well-being of Real Pickles’ employees, the Massachusetts community, and our shared planet!
Working with local organic farms…
Real Pickles products are made using vegetables grown only in the Northeast U.S. and are sold only within the region. This underscores our commitment to supporting and serving our regional food system. Last year (2016) we purchased over 320,000 pounds of vegetables came from eight family farms in Massachusetts & Vermont. We believe that pickles don’t need to have much of a carbon footprint if the vegetables can be grown, processed, and sold in the same region. We also work only with certified organic farms to promote best agricultural practices, healthy ecosystems, and the highest quality ingredients for our products.
Energy conservation, efficiency, and renewables…
Here at Real Pickles we are serious about reducing our environmental impact, and we strive to ensure that our energy usage and waste are minimized. Due to our energy-saving improvements, such as high-efficiency lighting and a walk-in cooler that uses outside air in the winter, we’ve enabled our 17 kW solar installation to provide 75% of our electricity over the past five years. On top of that, every year we continue to increase our electricity efficiency!
Good jobs and good people…
We are committed to creating meaningful and living wage jobs in our community. We work to foster a culture at Real Pickles that makes for a creative, supportive, fun, and satisfying place to work – but we go much further than that. Every worker at Real Pickles has the option to become an owner of our business! We make the larger business decisions cooperatively and maintain a participatory management structure in our day-to-day operations. Because we are worker-owned, employees feel empowered to make their jobs work for them.
Rooted in Community…
We view Real Pickles as a community asset and partner, not just a pickle business. A central part of what we do is to engage with our community to help build a better food system and an economy that supports both people and our planet.
We are proud to be a member of the Sustainable Business Network of Massachusetts – working to build a local, green, and fair economy.