An organic food company based in Greenfield, Massachusetts is in the process of becoming the area’s first worker-owned pickle co-operative. Daniel Rosenberg has been pickling for profit since he founded Real Pickles in 2001. He says then, the company set out to promote the Northeast’s regional food system by providing year-round locally grown, organic preserved vegetables — like dill pickles, sauerkraut and tomatillo hot sauce. Rosenberg says the company has grown by around twenty-five percent over the past few years. And he says that reflects customers’ enthusiasm for an alternative to vinegar-based pasteurized products other brands offer. Real Pickles relies on what Rosenberg calls “traditional” pickling — or fermentation.
“It depends on naturally occurring cultures that are just all in the vegetables. And because we leave them raw the pickles are a rich source of active cultures and enzymes. So they’re a pro-biotic food just as yogurt is.”
Rosenberg says most of Real Pickles’ produce comes from farms within forty miles of Greenfield. He says transitioning to a co-op model over the next few months will ensure Real Pickles stays small and community oriented.
“As a co-op there’s this great opportunity to inscribe our social mission into the governing documents of the co-op and make them really difficult to change.”
Real Pickles is offering shares to its twelve staff members and residents of Massachusetts and Vermont. He says the twenty-five hundred dollar minimum investment opportunity will be open for around six months.