Photo by Ashley Ray
How many pickled peppers can you peruse? At Artisan Pickle gatherings, jars and plates of pickled goods line up for the sampling.
Do you sometimes drink vinegar? Did your childhood Sour Patch obsession mature into a quest for all things that make your mouth pucker? Have you been itching to join a club that celebrates painstakingly-made foods? If you answered yes to any of those questions (or, if you’re a normal person who just likes pickles), excitement is on the way. Artisan Pickles, a local club-turned-subscription service, sends out a jar of something pickled by masters of the craft once a month.
“My love of pickles stems from age 5," Official Pickle Communications Officer Ashley Ray remembers. "My dad instituted ‘pickle breaks’ when we were spending time together. He would just shout ‘Pickle Break!’ and we would head to the fridge for a pickle.”
Ray and Chief Pickle Sleuth Larkin Garbee's path to pickle perfection began when they discovered each other's love of pickles at 804RVA, Garbee’s co-working office for freelancers. Ray rented space there about a year ago for her social media management company, Emergent Social Solutions, and they began their “two-person pickle meetings,” which led to the founding of a private tasting club. After choosing Shoryuken Ramen as a location for club meetings, things began to grow.
“Last month, we just decided to invite our friends," Ray says. "The table at Shoryuken was full of jars of pickles, and we sat and ate them together. Now every fourth Tuesday is Pickle Lovers’ Day there, and anyone is welcome — it’s open to the public.” To take part in Pickle Lovers’ Day, simply bring a jar of something pickled, artisan-made or homemade, or else bring $10 to contribute to the pickle fund.
It’s not all dill and cucumbers at the pickle club, of course. Some of Garbee and Ray’s favorites are local vendor JillPickles’ Heart Beets and Pacific Pickle Works’ cauliflower, and the cucumber pickles they’ve loved have been flavored with additions like horseradish and IPA. And speaking of IPAs, the two have chosen Center of the Universe Brewing Co. as the location for their first festival, Pickled and Fermented, slated to happen on May 14 of next year.
Interested? Find out more and register for the three- or six-month pickle subscription at artisanpickles.com.