press release via SpecialtyFood.com
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
San Francisco, CA (January 16, 2016) – Pernicious Pickling Co. announced today their recognition as a recipient of the 2016 Good Food Award in the Pickles division. The winners of the Good Food Award represent the forefront of American craft food, making products that are “delicious, respectful of the environment, and connected to communities and cultural traditions,” This is a national award with winners from 33 states that were amongst almost 2,000 entries. Winners were processed in a blind tasting with 203 judges held in September 2015.
Winners were announced Thursday evening, January 15, at a star-studded ceremony and gala at San Francisco’s Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture, featuring luminaries Alice Waters, Nell Newman and Slow Food Founder, Carlo Petrini.
“It is an incredible honor to be recognized and win such a prestigious award,” said Kendra Coggin & Baron Conway, co-founders of Pernicious Pickling Co. “The award represents everything we stand for in our desire to create great tasting and memorable pickles that use the best possible ingredients”.
Pernicious Pickling Co.’s winning entry, Fashionably Dill Pickled Red Beets, are a nod to Eastern European flavors with dill in a sweet and salty brine, enhancing the rich, earthy tones of the beet.
About Pernicious Pickling Co.: Hailing from Mississippi and England, we have been avid picklers since our mums first slathered Chow-Chow and Piccalilli on our school lunch sandwiches. Pernicious Pickling Co. was launched in October 2013 to celebrate the bold flavors of our Southern US-English heritages and the rich cultural diversity of our new home in Southern California. With a philosophy that “Pickles ain’t just for Sandwiches,” Pernicious Pickling Co.’s award-winning family of ten products use the freshest vegetables, a range of different brines, and sophisticated combinations of spices to ensure that each product delivers flavors that are bold, balanced, and as delectable straight out of the jar as they are in the food and drinks we love. We are also honored to have our Ginger & Spice Pickled Carrots as a finalist in the 2015 sofi Awards in the Appetizers, Antipasto, Hors D’Oeuvres category.
About the Good Food Awards: The Good Food Awards celebrates the kind of food we all want to eat: tasty, authentic and responsibly produced. We grant awards to outstanding American food producers and the farmers who provide their ingredients. Seedling Projects 501 (c) 3 organizes the Awards in collaboration with a broad community of food producers, food writers and passionate food-lovers. Find more information at: seedlingprojects.org and goodfoodawards.org. For more information about the Good Food Awards, and for a full list of winners, please visit http://www.goodfoodawards.org.
Lots of us dream about quitting our jobs and starting a food business. These people actually did it—with the loves of their lives as business partners.
Kendra Coggin and Baron Conway met while working at a marketing agency in Los Angeles: She took issue with a typeface he was using, and next thing you know, the two were dating and bonding over, of all things, pickles. "Pickling was a big part of both our lives growing up, says Baron. He grew up in England and favors mustard and malt-vinegar flavors; Kendra, a Mississippi native, prefers the sweet and hot versions from the South. They spent a lot of free time perfecting their brines, and after brunch guests frequently praised their pickles, they took a big leap and started the Pernicious Pickling Co. in 2013. "It was 50 percent planning, 50 percent pure gambling," Baron jokes of their decision to sink their savings into a new business after just one year of dating.
At the time, virtually no one was producing pickles in Southern California. The couple soon realized why: Getting a license to sell canned goods is extremely difficult. Undaunted, they took a certification class and rented space in a commercial kitchen. When they couldn't get a bank loan, they dipped into savings ($25,000, so far). Eventually, after renting booths at food shows, they started getting orders from gourmet shops—just the nudge Kendra needed to quit her job in 2014. (Baron still freelances to boost cash flow.) "It's the difference between being a business and a hobby," Baron says of Kendra's decision to leave her job. Today, their pickles are in nearly 100 stores, including Whole Foods, and they produce 10 varieities with bold flavor profiles, like pickled curry cauliflower and habanero dills. They expect to be cash-positive by the end of this year, but they're quick to admit it wasn't easy. "There are no shortcuts," he says. "It's hard work at every level."
Article by Erica Cohen
Photo by Anne Watson Photography
"Think like a coach and map out even the smallest details (it'll make the biggest impression). Carefully crafted, uniquely flavored versions can make all the difference on grilled burgers and dogs....Finally, any grilled, pulled or cured meat will play nicely with Pernicious Pickling Co.'s Sweet 'N Sour Pickled Red Onions ($9.99). The line also features ginger-pickled carrots and spicy, dilly pickled beets."
Selling Pickles, Seeing Smiles – and a Silver sofi
by Lorrie Baumann
Kendra Coggin and Baron Conway were looking to do more with their lives than answer to their corporate bosses in 2013, so they started making pickles. Just two years later, and just six months after the pair attended their first Fancy Food Show, their Pernicious Pickling Company's Ginger & Spice Pickled Carrots are among the finalists for a sofi Award. “It's what we wanted, but we never expected it would happen,” Conway says. “We were very, very surprised.”
In 2012, Coggin was a graphic designer, sitting at a computer all day and creating digital marketing materials for exciting entrepreneurs. Conway was working in advertising and marketing too, but his area of expertise is in business development and strategy. Both of them were infected by the ideas and energy of their clients, and they started thinking about going into business for themselves. They wanted something that would be creative, that would allow them to control their own destiny and that they could feel passionate about. “We wanted something where you don't mind working 60 or 80 hours a week to create something that impacts people in an interesting way,” Conway says. “It's about the food they love and the joy they get.”
They're both food lovers, and, for both of them, pickles were part of their family history. “My family has always had a very strong relationship with pickles, particularly savory, while Kendra was more familiar with the sweet hot flavors of the South,” Conway says. “At some point, we looked around and saw that there were no artisanal pickle companies in southern California.”
The two started making pickles and serving them to their friends, who were enthusiastic, so they decided to do some research into what it would take to start a pickling company. A year of work went into the business plan and the licensing that was necessary before they could sell their product. “California has very strict rules about shelf-stable pickling. You have to have a cannery license, commercial kitchen, regular inspections from the California Food & Drug Bureau and keep meticulous production records. All of these things are required to sell, whether it’s in a Whole Foods Market, a mom ‘n pop grocery, or at a farmers market,” Coggin says. “Even the recipes have to be submitted to the state for approval, along with samples for pH testing. It took us close to a year to get everything together. Then once you’ve received your cannery license and begin production, you have almost monthly inspections from the FDB to test your product and confirm records. This experience is certainly a far cry from the home canning we did growing up.”
All those complications could help explain why there are not many people making and selling shelf-stable pickles in Southern California, even though there's a lot of excitement in the market about pickling, she muses. The two of them launched their business in October, 2013 with 10 products. Yes, 10.
“Out of the gate, we had these 10 products, and we decided, the hell with it, we'll just launch with all 10 of them,” Conway says. “We saw an opportunity, a gap in the market, and we decided to jump in and see if we could take advantage of it.”
The 10 products include the Pickled Carrots that got the silver sofi Award, Fashionably Dill Pickled Red Beets, Sweet Hurry Curry Pickled Cauliflower, Sweet 'n Sour Pickled Red Onions, Lean 'N Mean Pickled Beans, Sweet Mustard Bread & Butter Pickles, three kinds of dill pickles and Pucker Up Hotties Sour Garlic Pickles. Of the 10 varieties, the Fashionably Dill Pickled Red Beets and Lean 'N Mean Pickled Beans are actually the company's best sellers, so it was a little surprising that it was the Ginger & Spice Pickled Carrots that caught the attention of the sofi Award judges. “The carrots are kind of this underdog, so it really surprised us,” Coggin says. “Inspired by the rich cultural diversity here in Southern California, we wanted to take the classic spicy mix of carrots, onions, and jalapeños you receive at Mexican restaurants, and add an Asian flair by making them with rice vinegar, to have a more mellow vinegary flavor, crushed red pepper, ginger, Thai chile. When you bite into the carrot, you get the sweetness of the carrot and the ginger, followed soon afterwards by a tinge of heat.”
“With all of our pickles, we try very hard to create a balanced, layered flavor profile,” Conway adds. “So it complements and extends the food it’s paired with.”
If the Pickled Carrots bring home the sofi Award, that will move the couple a little further ahead on their three-year business plan, and they're already figuring out how they can scale up their operation and expand their product line. “We decided that the philosophy has to be go big or go home,” Conway says. “We're becoming a little more ambitious about our goals and what we want to do.”
While they wait to see what happens at the Summer Fancy Food Show, they're both taking joy in what their business is bringing to others as well as themselves. “People love pickles. There is this force that draws people to us when they see we have pickles,” Coggin says. “It crosses all ages and genders. Little kids come up and want the spiciest pickles, or they want to try the pickled beet because it's bright pink.”
“Pickle people are happy people,” Conway adds. “When folks eat pickles, they have a smile on their face… They want to share memories about pickling with their grandmother or a favorite pickle dish experienced abroad – we’ve received more than one old family recipe in the mail. It’s really quite emotional at times and it's been an unexpected joy to see. We started Pernicious wanting to create pickles that people would love to eat, yet we didn’t quite expect the happiness, nostalgia, and community pickles would bring to us.”
Wow-wie, that's one sexy hot jar of pickles...literally! Check out Coast Magazine and their great little write-up about us.
"The Pernicious Pickling Co. started out at the Downtown Santa Ana Farmers Market, but its popularity has skyrocketed the OC company into brick-and-mortar stores across the county. Kendra Coggin and Baron Conway capture the seasons with jars chock full of locally grown cauliflower, beets and green beans. Food & Wine Magazine included the pickling pair in its annual Thanksgiving issue featuring recipes from America’s best food artisans. While sour garlic pickles, a bolder version of the classic kosher dill, are the couple’s favorite, the hotter versions are their best sellers. The extra spicy Habanero Hottie pickles and Spicy Lean and Mean Green Beans sizzle on the plate. “Our mission when creating these two was to bring the heat without compromising on flavor, so we use three types of chile with an extra dose of garlic, dill and black pepper,” says Coggin. While we enjoy eating them straight out of the jar, Coggin has some other recommendations. “We love serving them battered and deep-fried with a cool buttermilk dip, tossed onto burgers, or pour the brine into Bloody Marys for these warm California weekends – just don’t forget the garnish!”
One of our favorite ways to use Pernicious Pickling's Pickled "Sweet Hurry Curry" Cauliflower is to bake it with a white fish, such as Tilapia or Cod. The naturally subtle fish takes on a nice kick from the intense Pickled Cauliflower, then we added grits and a pan gravy for a heartier meal or one could substitute greens for a lighter option.
In a pan lined with aluminum foil, layer the Cod, Pickled Cauliflower and brine – don't forget the red bell peppers and onions from the pickle jar, and a few shakes of salt and pepper. Wrap the foil then bake at 350˚ for 20-30 mins. (Before baking and after shown above.)
The leftover pan juices and brine make an excellent, mild curry infused gravy. Carefully pour the liquid into a pan then, over low-medium heat, slowly sift a heaped tablespoon of all-purpose flour and stir until you reach a desired consistency. If so desired, add a bit of seasoning to taste - a dash of salt, pepper and cumin are great. What you end up with is a lovely and slightly curry infused gravy. Simply pour it over the dish and your ready for a flavorful and healthy meal!
It's National Pickle Day! Enter code PICKLEDAY at checkout for 20% off our entire selection. #LetsGetPickled
We had a crazy fun time this past weekend at Renegade Craft Fair in San Francisco. Huge thanks to everyone who came out and Shopped Small for the holidays.
And special thanks to Ziibra for putting together a short video recap with a little cameo from yours truly. Click the image below to play. (Too bad they didn't capture all the pickle dancing!)
If you had told us when we launched 1 year ago that today we would be gawking at our own little write-up in Food & Wine, I'd have thought you were hitting the straight vinegar again. Thank you to everyone who has supported us! #pickledance
We first learned of this unusual-sounding cocktail from the bar, Ditch Plains in NYC. But don't let the Old Bay and pickles scare you away! Our Bread & Butter Pickles, which are more mustardy than sweet perfectly melds with the Old Bay seasoning to balance out the sweetness of the Bourbon, resulting in a very smooth, easy drinking cocktail. (Even for the non-Bourbon drinker, like Ms. Pickler.)
2oz Bourbon, 1oz Pernicious Bread & Butter Pickle brine, squirt of lime, garnish with B&B pickle sprinkled with Old Bay seasoning
Bespoke Post is a New York-based subscription club for the classy man – think axes and shoe shining kits, Bourbon brittle and grooming gear. We're delighted to have our Spicy Beans featured in their November collection called "Slate", comprised of a Brooklyn Slate serving board, Daneson toothpicks, and delicacies from the likes of Mustard and Co., Creminelli, Bourbon Trace, Old Town Oil. Read more and place your order here.
In conjunction with this collection, Bespoke has organized a little Pickle Shop in our honor where several of our other pickles are available.