On the West Coast, there’s a clandestine pickle club with a cult following

June 26, 2019

Pickles may not strike you as a super-popular food—but Americans consume more than nine pounds of pickles per person annually, according to Natural Harvest. Not only that, but whether they are dill, sweet, bread and butter, sour, half-sour, or garlic, more than 67% of U.S. households have a jar on-hand—and they purchase pickles on an average of every 53 days.

In fact, there’s even a Pickle of the Month Club that will ship “premium, artisan-style pickles every month” from “specialty and award-winning producers across the country.” The cost is about $25/month.

But for real pickle fanatics, there’s only one place to go—and few people know about it.

According to an exclusive report from The Los Angeles Times, for the last year and a half, Jessica Wang, a pastry chef-turned-fermentation enthusiast  who worked at State Bird Provisions in San Francisco and Lasa and Madcapra in Los Angeles, has supplied a cult pickle subscription under the name Picklé Pickle Co. to a small circle of brine-minded colleagues.

Each jar, the Times gushes, “is a subtle surprise of vegetables and aromatics, usually dry-salted rather than wet-brined: watermelon rind with chive blossoms; cauliflower with curry leaf, green peppercorn and sesame oil; jicama with calamansi and a hint of habanero; preserved lemons with mango leaf and Utah salt.”

And it’s actually cheaper than the pedestrian club that “anybody can buy into.” A quarterly subscription runs $25 for three half-pint jars.

“I love having them in my fridge because you can throw them in anything you’re making and they will immediately pep it up,” photographer and gallery owner Asha Schechter, one of Wang’s first subscribers, told the news outlet in a recent interview. “I also like seeing her transform things I see at the farmers market. It’s very inspiring.”

Wang said experimentation, volunteering with farmers through the Asian Pacific Islander Forward Movement, a stint with Cultured Pickle Shop in Berkeley and a retreat at the home of food activist Sandor Katz all paved the way for a future in pickles.

“It’s such a joy and I feel so alive after eating them,” she said. “And it’s something that I can spread to others.”

You can sign up for Wang’s workshops via @picklepickle.co on Instagram.

Research contact: @latimes

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