Dilly’s Pickled Vegetables feature spicy mixes of asparagus, green beans, baby dill pickles and more.
Demand for pickled veggies overwhelms home kitchen
By Melissa Davlin
Photos by Matt Leitholt
A recipe from Grandma turned into a great business opportunity for Shelly Craig.
She had canned asparagus and dilly beans with her own mother using the family recipe. Friends soon caught on, making the Midvale resident a popular guest at potlucks.
“It just never failed,” Craig said. “Any time we went to a party somewhere, someone would say, ‘Bring some beans, bring some asparagus.’”
As an adult, Craig began selling the pickled veggies out of her house, but the demand was too high to keep up out of her small kitchen. She tried using a school kitchen, but that arrangement didn’t last long, either.
So Craig called the University of Idaho Food Technology Center and got set up at their kitchen. The experience was eye opening, she said. Canning was second nature to her, but until she took UI's one-day overview seminar, she didn’t realize the legalities involved in selling her product. She had to relearn how to prepare her pickled veggies to meet those standards.
At the beginning, she made about 50 jars at a time. Now, she makes about 1,300 per production run.
In the nine years since Craig began selling her vegetables, she’s expanded her selection. Now, customers can buy spicy dill pickles and pickled baby corn. Distribution has grown, too. Her Dillys pickled vegetables are available at the Boise Co-Op, Whole Foods and Rosauers, as well as statewide at every liquor store. (Try the pickled asparagus and dilly beans in Bloody Marys.)
From home kitchen to store shelf:
How the FTC helped four cooks find success