Do The Next Good Thing – Brian, The Pickling Pioneer

 

Two Buttons Deep has partnered with Jeff Buell to produce Do The Next Good Thing. An initiative to show the power of kindness by handing out $100 every day to strangers we encounter around the Capital Region.

The catch? They need to spend a few minutes telling us about themselves before they know anything about the $100. While many people claim they’re too busy to talk and continue on with their day, some take a break from life to be kind to us.

Meet Brian, the pickling pioneer.


 

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“Well, my wife is better looking than me, she’s smarter than me, she’s in better shape than me, and she turned an old family hobby into a business and now that’s what we do.”

Some people are born to talk about what they’re doing. This was Brian’s response to how does out get involved in pickling. He’s watching over the booth of Puckers Gourmet at the Schenectady Greenmarket, a booth all about pickles. And life.

“We love it. We are fermenters, so when it comes to pickles that as old school as it gets. We actually still ferment in old whiskey barrels and of course, the big thing is you are getting all the health benefits of probiotics and none of the additives, colors, dyes. It’s nice when you do work that people enjoy. It’s wholesome, it’s healthy, you don’t get that quite as much in the food world today.”

Do changing trends and habits of people, leaning more towards healthy, natural ways benefit you?

“To an extent. People have improving palates. We are getting more nuanced customers as time goes on. A lot of people don’t care about the probiotic part they just love the way they taste and that’s okay too. We very much like being able to bring a healthy part back into people’s lives regain something that has slowly been lost in the pasteurization and chemical additives of food.”

And then Brian says something I’ve never actually thought of before. But it instantly makes sense.

“You know, your food should have to go in the refrigerator. You should be worried about something that can sit in your cupboard or on your shelf unrefrigerated. If it’s made of food it shouldn’t be something that can last through the apocalypse.”

If this all sounding like you want some pickles, have no fear. Brian and his wife Kelley, the mastermind behind the idea, participate in more than ten Farmer’s Markets during the summer.

“We go to Chestertown, Bolton Landing, Glens Falls, Saratoga Saturday and Sunday, Troy, of course, Schenectady naturally, Saugerties, and we’re going to be doing Delmar,” he says in about 10 seconds. “We also do the International Pickle Festival.”

There’s a Rosendale Pickle Festival (it’s clearly in Rosendale)?

“Right here in the great state of New York. It was the 20th year this year and we took first place without Thai fermented cabbage, a little sweet and spicy. It’s a great event.”

At this point I’m fascinated and ask Brian about the leap the couple took, both quitting full-time jobs in the “real world” to become picklers.

“We are a single income family, we make the pickles all week and then sell them all weekend. We work together pretty much every day.”

This is happiness for you?

“Oh absolutely, it allows us the flexibility to be with our family. We have two kids. So can shuffle things around and make sure they have the time and attention they need and we are being great parents. There’s not punching clocks or asking for time off.”

I love when I meet people that talk like me. As I’m listening to the recording this morning I hear myself rushing through the explanation of Do The Next Good Thing at the end. I don’t ask what he’ll do with it… not officially anyway.

We hope to find good people and hope they’ll do good things with it, I tell him. I hand him $100.

“Holy shit, that’s crazy,” he says. “We sure will, thank you so much.”



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