Rob Seaufert, owner of Epic Pickles in York, PA, wasn’t always a pickles guy. With an education and career background in graphic design, one day Rob read an article about a Farmers Market pickle guy in Baltimore.
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- Saturday, July 9 from 10:30am to 12:30pm
- Saturday, July 23 from 10:30am to 12:30pm
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Baltimore happens to be the location of an agency where Rob previously worked as a graphic artist. His interest in the Farmers Market pickle guy was piqued so Rob and his wife decided to go on a weekend adventure. As Rob describes the visit, “It was my first experience with flavored pickles and it blew me away.” So much so, that every time they were in the area, they would visit the pickle guy. “We would buy a bunch of different pickles and bring them home. My neighbors were interested. So eventually I said, ‘Let me try making pickles; this can’t be that difficult.’”
Still in exploration stage, Rob visited the local farmers market to pick up local produce and created a couple of recipes. He tried them on his neighbors and they loved them. The neighbors kept asking for more. “I saw a possibility and the business was born.” Rob created a business name, and a Facebook page, and then it was a matter of seeing what interest was out there. “I started talking up pickles while I was at happy hours and meals out. A buddy and myself would go out once a week for dinner. I would see someone next to us having a burger with pickles and I would start a conversation. The next thing I was selling pickles to them.”
As Rob describes it, It was a whirlwind first year of getting into the business. “I had no food mentor; it was just myself and a lot of research. And, a lot of things just happened by word of mouth. I found that one thing just led to the next.” Rob has now been in the Epic Pickles business for 5 ½ years and in a new location since the beginning of this year. The business is currently in the process of getting a new facility set up. In the future Rob would like to offer factory tours and classes.
So what inspires a guy who built a business from nothing and creates everything from scratch? One answer is, just that. “Working from raw ingredients and making the products from scratch is extremely important to me. Where the product and raw goods come from is important to me, and making everything by hand by myself is important to me.” Rob takes a lot of pride in his standards. “We start with raw goods; if I get bad cucumbers that day, we get no money that day.”
Here’s a day in the life of this pickle master’s business: “I buy produce at 7am, sort through everything for quality control, clean all the produce, which means washing 1,500 cucumbers by hand, sort the pickles by size, slice the pickles into chips with an old school mandolin, add fresh onions into the sweet pickles mix, and then clean, prepare, and fill all the jars. In the meantime, we’re sorting our brine – a sweet brine is different than a traditional vinegar and salt brine. We fill the jars with brine, then cap them and cook them in a boiling water bath. When we take them out we let the jars cool for 24 hours until they’re at room temperature and the ph level is safe for eating and shelf stable product. In a few days we’re labeling, and sending the product out the door.”
Final words from the Epic Pickles founder: “I love making good food and I support the buy local movement a hundred percent. Eventually I would love to employ a number of people making good food. Right now I’m taking it one day at a time.”
Make sure you stop by the Doylestown Food Market to try a sampling of pickles during our two demo dates: Saturday, July 9 and 23, from 10:30am – 12:30pm.