America’s Favorite Pickle is Made in Michigan’s Thumb
As you stroll through the supermarket aisles, the humble jar of pickles you pass by may hold a crunch that reverberates all the way from the heartland of Michigan. Over a century ago, Michigan’s prime location within the agricultural belt of the U.S. and its exceptionally fertile soil made it an ideal place for cucumber cultivation. This surplus turned into something sustainable and profitable: humble Michigan made pickles.
OK, technically, Vlasic Pickles, located in Imlay City, is at the Thumb’s extreme southern portion. Vlasic is a significant employer for the region. Michigan farmers supply cucumbers for America’s #1 pickle, and scores of workers work at the Imlay City plant and distribution.
Vlasic Pickles Marketing Genus
In 1974 the pickle company had a bit of a marketing coup with the stork mascot’s introduction. This baby-delivering stork is linked to the old story that pregnant women have an appetite for pickles. Vlasic marketed themselves as; “The pickle pregnant women crave…after all, who’s a better pickle expert?”. The spectacled bird had a voice like Groucho Marx and held the pickle like a cigar, taking a bite and uttering the punch line, “Now that’s the best tasting pickle I ever heard!”.
While pickles are a favorite chilled right out of the jar, they are also delicious in savory recipes such as Dill Pickle Soup.
Vlasic’s Cute and Snarky Commercials
Amazingly, the advertising industry loved the Vlasic spokes bird and added the stork to the Madison Avenue Advertising Walk of Fame. The iconic stork is now alongside other mascots like the Pillsbury Doughboy and Mr. Peanut. In the days of social media, the iconic Vlasic pickles stork took on the name of Jovny and can be found on YouTube.
History of Vlasic
Frank Vlasic moved to America in 1912. After World War II, Frank’s grandson Bob built its first plant in Imlay City, Michigan. Over the next 20 years, the family grew Vlasic into America’s number one pickle.
Vlasic makes its famous pickles and over 100 other products in Imlay City, Michigan. The plant produces more than 150 million jars of pickle products annually. Vlasic is one of Lapeer County’s largest employers.
Conagra Brands Buys Pinnacle Foods
On October 26, 2018, Pinnacle Foods was acquired by Conagra Brands (CGA). Pinnacle Foods’ (PF), stock ceased trading on the New York Stock Exchange before the market opened on that date. Pinnacle Foods offered many well-known brands, such as Duncan Hines, Bird’s Eye, Log Cabin, Mrs. Butterworth’s, and Vlasic Pickles.
Deal Creates Second-Largest Frozen Food Company
The cash-and-stock deal was valued at about $10.9 billion. Analysts say this deal creates Nestle’s second-largest U.S. frozen food company and strengthens Conagra’s snack food.
Conagra Now Owns Vlasic Pickles and A Wise Cracking Stork
Vlasic Pickle conducts operations in Imlay City and purchases cucumbers and peppers from area farmers in Michigan’s Thumb region. In 2013, Pinnacle made a $14 million facility expansion which resulted in the creation of 29 full-time and 500 seasonal jobs. The Imlay City plant produces more than 150 million jars of pickle products annually. Vlasic is one of Lapeer County’s largest employers.
Michigan Leads the Country in Pickle Cucumber Growing
Michigan ranks first nationally in the production of pickling cucumbers. In 2016, Michigan produced over 230,000 tons of pickling cucumbers, worth about $47 million. Also, Michigan farmers grew 68 million pounds of fresh cucumbers for retail and market worth $15 million.
The growing season for cucumbers begins in July and runs until September. Canned pickles are available year-round.
Michigan gave rise to many of the famous names in pickle production. This includes; Heinz (1897), Freestone Pickle (1903), Bay City’s Hausbeck Pickles (1923), Vlasic (1946), Bay View Foods (1946), Swanson Pickle (1964), and Topor’s Detroit Deli in the 1970s.
Cucumbers are A Nutritional and Guilt-Free Snack
One cup of fresh cucumber is a good source of vitamins. It contains 4% of your daily potassium and vitamin C requirements and 3% of your daily fiber needs. Cucumbers also provide small amounts of minerals, such as molybdenum and manganese along with vitamins K and A.
One entire cup of peeled cucumbers contains only 15 calories.
Pickle companies in Michigan
When it comes to pickles, Michigan may not be the first state that comes to mind. However, many pickle companies in the Great Lakes State are shaking up the industry with their innovative flavors and commitment to quality. From traditional dill to spicy habanero, these Michigan-based companies are pushing the boundaries of what pickles can be. But it’s not just the impressive flavors – these companies also use locally sourced ingredients and sustainable production methods to create truly unique and eco-friendly products. Here are a few Michigan pickle companies:
Based in Detroit, this company produces a variety of pickle flavors, relishes, and other pickled products.
McClure’s Pickles is a small-batch pickle company located in Detroit, Michigan. They were founded in 2010 by Joe McClure, who wanted to create a delicious and sustainable pickle. McClure’s Pickles are made with all-natural ingredients and are fermented in small batches to ensure quality. The pickles are available in a variety of flavors, including dill, bread and butter, spicy, and sweet and sour. McClure’s Pickles are sold online and in select retailers across the United States.
McClure’s Pickles have been praised by critics and consumers alike. In 2014, they were named one of the “Best Foods in America” by Bon Appétit magazine. McClure’s Pickles have also been featured on Food Network, The Today Show, and The Chew.
Topor’s Pickle Company
Topor’s is located in Ferndale and offers a range of pickles and pickled products. Topor’s Pickle Company is another great pickle company in Michigan. They have been making pickles since 1960, and their pickles are known for their fresh taste and crunchy texture. Topor’s Pickles are available in various flavors, including dill, bread and butter, and garlic.
Located in Ann Arbor, The Brinery is a fermentation company that produces pickles, sauerkraut, kimchi, and hot sauces.
The Brinery is a small-batch pickle company located in Ann Arbor, Michigan. They were founded in 2010 by David Klingenberger, who wanted to create a delicious and sustainable pickle. The Brinery pickles are made with all-natural ingredients and fermented in small batches to ensure quality. The pickles are available in a variety of flavors, including dill, bread and butter, spicy, and sweet and sour. The Brinery pickles are sold online and in select retailers across the United States.
Great Lakes Pickling Company
Great Lakes Pickling Company, LLC is a Sterling Heights, Michigan, food manufacturer. They make all-natural pickles and pickle spices that are high in flavor and naturally low in sodium. Their products are available for purchase online and at select retailers.
The company was founded in 2016 by two friends who love pickles. They started making pickles in their own kitchen and quickly realized there was a demand for their products. They moved into a commercial kitchen in 2017 and have been growing ever since.
Great Lakes Pickling Company uses only the freshest ingredients in their pickles. They also use a low-sodium brine, which makes their pickles healthier than many other brands. Their pickles are available in various flavors, including dill, garlic, spicy, and sweet & smoky.
Hausbeck Pickle Company
Hausbeck Pickle Company is one of Michigan’s oldest and most well-known pickle companies. Hausbeck Pickle Company is a family-owned and operated business making pickles in Saginaw, Michigan, since 1923. The company was founded by Charles and Rose Hausbeck, who started by turning the region’s local cucumber crop into pickles, packing them into jars and barrels, and delivering them to grocers throughout the state. Today, Hausbeck Pickle Company is one of the largest pickle producers in the Midwest, and its products are sold in grocery stores and restaurants across the country.
The company’s pickles are made with only the freshest ingredients, and they are brined and fermented using a traditional method passed down through the Hausbeck family for generations. Hausbeck Pickles are available in various flavors, including dill, bread & butter, and spicy. They are also available in various shapes and sizes, including whole dills, spears, chips, and relish.
In addition to its pickles, Hausbeck Pickle Company also produces a variety of other pickled vegetables, including peppers, beets, and onions. The company also offers pickle-flavored products, such as chips, popcorn, and salsa.
Hausbeck Pickle Company is committed to providing its customers with the highest quality pickles and other pickled vegetables. The company uses only the freshest ingredients and follows traditional methods to ensure that its products are of the highest quality. Hausbeck Pickles are a delicious and healthy addition to any meal.
Freakin’ Pickles is a family-owned gourmet pickle company based in Au Gres, MI. The company was founded in 2019 by a mother and son duo, Brett Leppek and Cheri Leppek-Harpham. They currently offer 12 “DILL-licious” flavors and they can’t wait for you to try them all!
The pickles are made with fresh, local ingredients and are brined for at least two weeks. They are then hand-packed and shipped to retailers and customers all over Michigan. Freakin’ Pickles are available at more than 60 retail locations in Michigan, including grocery stores, farmers’ markets, and specialty shops. They can also be purchased online at the Freakin’ Pickles website.
In addition to their delicious pickles, Freakin’ Pickles also offers a variety of other pickle-related products, including pickle chips, pickle juice, and pickle-flavored popcorn. They also offer a variety of pickle-themed merchandise, such as t-shirts, hats, and stickers.
Swanson Pickle Company
The Swanson Pickle Company is a family-owned and operated business that has been in operation since 1949. The company is located in Ravenna, Michigan, and is known for its high-quality pickles. Swanson Pickles are made with fresh, Michigan-grown cucumbers and are brined for at least four weeks. The company offers a variety of pickle flavors, including dill, bread and butter, and spicy. Swanson Pickles are available at grocery stores and specialty shops throughout Michigan.
The company was founded by John Wesley Swanson, who began by marketing and selling pickles grown in the state after World War II. Four generations later, the Swanson family grows, grades, and ferments pickles that find their way onto grocery shelves across the country.
Swanson Pickle Company is a great example of a Michigan success story. The company has operated for over 70 years and is still going strong. Swanson Pickles is a popular product enjoyed by people all over the state. The company is committed to using fresh, Michigan-grown ingredients and to making high-quality pickles. Swanson Pickles are a great addition to any meal and will please even the pickiest of eaters.
Top Hat Pickles
Top Hat Pickles is a small-batch pickle company based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The company was founded in 2019 by husband and wife team Cindy and Matt Weitzeil. Cindy is a former chef and Matt is a former software engineer. The two met while working at a restaurant in Ann Arbor and bonded over their love of food.
After leaving the restaurant industry, Cindy and Matt decided to start their own business. They wanted to create a product that was both delicious and healthy. They also wanted to make a unique product that stood out from the competition.
After experimenting with different recipes, Cindy and Matt devised the perfect pickle. Their pickles are made with fresh, Michigan-grown cucumbers and are brined for at least two weeks. They are then hand-packed and shipped to customers all over the country.
Top Hat Pickles are available in various flavors, including dill, spicy dill, garlic dill, and bread and butter. The pickles are also available in various sizes, including single jars, pint jars, and half-gallon jars.
Gielow Pickles, a company headquartered in Croswell and with a plant located in Lexington, Michigan, offers a range of Refrigerated and Shelf Stable products. Since 1970, Gielow Pickles has been the producer of Cool Crisp™ refrigerated dill pickles. The Gielow family has been making pickles for five generations and were the original founders of Aunt Janes Pickles in the early 1900s. Their unwavering dedication to producing a top-quality product at a competitive price has been the foundation of their success. Today, Gielow Pickles is one of the top manufacturers of refrigerated pickles for the food service industry.
The Kraft Heinz pickle plant in Holland, Michigan, is the largest pickle factory in the world. It was opened in 1897 by H.J. Heinz and has been operating continuously. The plant employs about 300 people full-time and 200-300 laborers during the cucumber season.
The plant produces a variety of pickles, including dill pickles, bread and butter pickles, and sweet pickles. The pickles are made from cucumbers grown in the surrounding area. The cucumbers are picked, washed, and then processed in the plant. They are then packed in jars or cans and shipped to stores worldwide.
The plant is a major economic driver for the Holland area. It provides jobs for local residents and helps to attract tourists to the area. The plant is also a source of pride for the community. It is a reminder of the city’s history and its connection to the food industry.
These are just a few of the great pickle companies in Michigan. If you want a delicious pickle, check out one of these companies.