Apr 17, 2019Pickling cucumber industry centered in Michigan
Did you know Michigan devotes more acreage to pickling cucumbers than any state in the union?
The Mitten state harvested more than 34,000 acres of pickling cucumbers in 2018, a crop worth nearly $50 million, reported Crain’s Business Detroit. That accounts for 27 percent of the national market.
One reason is the well-drained, sandy soil conditions in the state, which are ideal for cucumber growing. Another is the high number of central-European immigrants that settled in Michigan during the 19th and early 20th centuries.
“We’re passionate about taking these great old traditions, which otherwise might fade away, and keeping them alive and vibrant,” Jason Grobbel told Crain’s Business Detroit.
Grobbel owns E.W. Grobbel Sons, a corned beef producer that acquired Topor’s Pickle Company last year. “Because of this craft foods movement, people are interested in it and they recognize pickles are a fun snack and at the same time, they are healthy,” he added.
McClure’s, Freestone, Gielow, Hausbeck and Swanson are other pickle producers based in Michigan.
In addition, Heinz opened a pickle factory in Holland, Michigan, as early as 1897, and Kraft Heinz still maintains a facility there.
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John Swanson with his children, from the left, Katie Hensley, Wes Swanson and Matt Swanson stand among brine tanks used to pickle cucumbers at Swanson Pickle in Michigan’s Muskegon County. Photo: Stephen Kloosterman