Pickles in Ontario

Is there any partnership more perfect than pastrami with a pickle? I doubt it. So when it was revealed earlier this year that Strub’s Pickles might be going out of business, my heart sank. First there was Ontario’s Bick’s Pickles being swallowed up in 2004 by American giant J.M.Smuckers Co.- who subsequently closed down the Dunnville plant last year -and then this.

The story of Strub’s, its humble beginnings in 1929 from a farm outside of Hamilton to the company’s recent plight is well documented in an excellent article by Jennifer Wells that was featured in the Toronto Star in June. For more information on the history of Strub’s and the impact that the company’s financial insolvency is having on local farmers such as Fred Froese, check out Ms Wells’ article.

The good news, sort of, is that since then, Strub’s has been purchased by Quebec’s family owned Whyte’s Food Corp. There are no immediate plans to change the Strub’s  product or recipes. But you never know. How this affects Ontario cucumber and vegetable growers such as Mister Froese,-whose family farm supplied product to Strub’s for  over twenty years-remains unclear. One thing that is clear is the decision not to renew contracts for Froese and thirty two other Ontario growers this year has a ripple effect that impacts workers and families from all across Canada to Mexico.

For the average consumer, who has had a long love affair with a favourite product, getting the skinny on a product as seemingly innocuous as a jar of pickles can be confusing and a little Kafkaesque.

Sure, there are other pickle makers out there, but pickle lovers are famous for their devotion to a particular brand, and for many of us, Strub’s Barrel Cured Full Sour Brine Kosher Pickles are the ne plus ultra, and a proud, Canadian owned, farmed and processed brand. Sadly, with the demise of Bicks, they are one of the last pickle producers in the province. Get ‘em while you can.

 

 

 

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