- Mt. Olive’s Lebanese beginnings chronicled in Our State
The spark of an idea for establishing Mt. Olive Pickle is credited to Lebanese immigrant Shikrey Baddour back in the 1920s. He saw local fields of cucumbers going to waste, and he thought there ought to be something done about that. His initial idea for a source of brinestock for other pickle companies didn’t pan out. But local business people saw promise and established the company to pack and sell its own brands of pickles. While Shikrey eventually left the company he helped found, we are proud of the connection. Read more about him, his family, and other Lebanese families who made their mark on their North Carolina communities in the February issue of Our State.
- Pickle Drop incorporates canned food drive
One of the traditions of the Mt. Olive New Year’s Eve Pickle Drop is the canned food drive for Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina.
And this year, in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, the food drive is even more important. See the list of most needed items.
“Typically after the holidays local food pantries are nearly depleted, so we are always glad to sponsor a food drive during the Pickle Drop,” said Lynn Williams, company spokesman. “This year there’s even more of an impetus to have a successful food drive, because Hurricane Matthew back in October really stretched food supplies for pantries, shelters and local food banks throughout Eastern North Carolina.”
Food Bank CENC serves 34 counties through 800 partner agencies. In the weeks after Hurricane Matthew, it distributed over 2 million pounds of disaster relief food, water, and supplies, in addition to its regular distributions.
“The need is tremendous, and it continues even now as families in our region struggle to recover from the disaster,” Ms. Williams said. “So we are making a special appeal to those planning to attend the pickle drop to bring donations.”
As part of the pickle drop tradition, people who bring canned food or make cash donations to the Food Bank receive a chance to win door prizes. The grand prize is a three-foot pool pickle like the one that is dropped down the company flagpole. The door prizes are awarded immediately following the drop.
“We’ve had a lot of fun with the door prizes over the years,” Ms. Williams said. “One time I remember a little girl won the pool pickle. It was literally taller than she was – she looked to be about three or four years old. She had to drag it across the grass when we gave it to her.”
The Pickle Drop has partnered with Food Bank since 2007, and has provided 10,000 meals in food and financial contributions since then.
“I think in our biggest year we collected over 2,200 pounds and $800,” Ms. Williams said. “It would be great to exceed that for 2016.”
Mt. Olive Pickle Company, Inc. will hold its annual New Year’s Eve Pickle Drop Saturday, December 31, 2016 at the Corner of Cucumber & Vine in Mount Olive. Live music will start at 5:30, and the evening will also include line dancing and free refreshments. The pickle comes down the pole at 7 p.m. – which is midnight GMT.
“We always encourage folks to get here early. The whole thing is over at 7:05 – or as soon as we award all the door prizes,” Ms. Williams said.
The company’s gift shop will be open that day from 3-7 p.m. For driving directions to Mt. Olive Pickle, go to www.picklemap.com.
For those who can’t make it in person, watch it live on New Year’s Eve on the web at www.mtolivepickles.com.
In business since 1926 in its hometown of Mount Olive, NC, Mt. Olive Pickle Company manufactures the best-selling brand of pickles, peppers and relishes in the country.
- In Matthew’s aftermath, Mt. Olive Pickle will not participate in the N.C. State Fair
For the first time in perhaps 60 years, Mt. Olive Pickle will not operate its booth at the N.C. State Fair in Raleigh, NC. The fair’s 11-day run starts Thursday, October 13.
While our company did not sustain any damage to its facilities, the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew has posed significant challenges for us and for our greater community. We have chosen to focus our energies and resources on getting the plant back up and returning to normal operations. We will, however, miss seeing our many fans and friends this year in Raleigh. We ask for prayers for the people of our community and for all of those affected by Hurricane Matthew.
- Mt. Olive moves to new location at the N.C. State Fair
RALEIGH—After almost 30 years in the same location at the N.C. State Fair, Mt. Olive Pickle Company moves to a new spot this year.
The company’s booth, where fair goers can purchase a pickle for 50 cents, will be located in The Marketplace, a new, large tent holding a number of commercial vendors. The Marketplace can be found across from the Rabbit Barn and next door to the N.C. State Howling Cow ice cream stand.
The N.C. State Fair opens Thursday, October 13 and runs through Sunday, October 23 at the fairgrounds in Raleigh.
“We’ve been in our same location – the Commercial Building – we think for almost 30 years, and thousands of Mt. Olive Pickle fans visit us there every year,” said Lynn Williams, company spokesperson. “We are excited about our new location, because it puts us squarely in the middle of the fairgrounds, and we are looking forward to engaging even more folks who love Mt. Olive pickles.
“The challenge is to get the word out to let our traditional fans know where to find us.”
Mt. Olive Pickle is one of the state fair’s longest running commercial vendors – it has had a presence at the fair since the early 1950s. The booth offers free scratch n sniff pickle stickers, plus a guessing game where fair goers can enter their best guess at the number of pickles in a 2.5 gallon jar. After the fair is over, the company sends a gift box of pickles to each daily winner.
“A stop at the pickle booth is just a tradition for many folks who attend the N.C. State Fair – they came as children and now they are bringing their children and grandchildren,” Williams said. “It’s wonderful for our employees working the booth to interact with some of our biggest and best fans, and for our fans to meet and talk with the people who actually make their favorite pickles.”
In business since 1926, Mt. Olive Pickle Company manufactures the best-selling brand of pickles, peppers and relishes in U.S. grocery stores. Its operations encompass one million square feet of production and warehouse space spread over 150 acres in Mount Olive, located about 70 miles southeast of Raleigh. The company marks its 90th anniversary in 2016.
- Mt. Olive Pickle marks 90th anniversary
They were bankers, produce brokers, farmers, merchants, physicians, railroad men, and insurance executives.
Together, they established the Mt. Olive Pickle Company in January 1926 in what they envisioned as a community stock proposition. Today, Mt. Olive is the maker of the best-selling brand of pickles, peppers and relishes in U.S. grocery stores, with distribution in all 50 states.
To mark its 90th anniversary, Mt. Olive Pickle Company and the Wayne County Public Library will present a public exhibit at Steele Memorial Library throughout the month of August.
The exhibit, 90 Years of the Pickle People, goes on display Friday, August 5 in the J.D. Evans Community Room. Prepared by Marty Tschetter, Wayne County local historian, and Lynn Williams, public relations manager at Mt. Olive Pickle, the exhibit will be open to the public during regular library hours.
“Mt. Olive Pickle has such a great story,” Ms. Williams said. “It was started by a group of local business people who recognized that if they could create a new market for area farmers, the whole town would benefit. This exhibit gives us an opportunity to learn more about who some of these people were, and to make connections to today.”
The exhibit is not intended to be an exhaustive look at the 37 original shareholders who invested in the company to launch it in 1926, she said.
“We have gaps about some of the shareholders on the list, and I hope the exhibit becomes a catalyst for people in the community and shareholder families to help us flush out the details,” she said.
The exhibit will also feature a history timeline and images of employees over the years, plus artifacts that highlight some of the company’s marketing efforts and nostalgia.
Timed to coincide with the company’s annual shareholders meeting in August, the exhibit will feature two public events this month.
The first is a program co-sponsored by the Mount Olive Area Historical Association. Set for Tuesday, August 9 at 6 p.m. at the library, “Glimpses of the Past” will include an overview of company history presented by Ms. Williams and Tschetter. Those attending will be encouraged to share their “pickle plant” stories.
“Mt. Olive Pickle has remained true to its roots – the company has served as an economic mainstay in the Mount Olive area for nine decades,” Ms. Williams said. “Everyone in Mount Olive has either worked here, or is kin to someone who worked here. We each have our own stories to share.”
The second event will be the Mount Olive Area Chamber of Commerce’s Mount Olive Mingle, set for Thursday, August 18 from 5:30-7:30, again at Steele Memorial Library. This will be another time for an overview of the company’s history and some of the exhibit highlights, as well as story-sharing. Ms. Williams noted that the Mount Olive Chamber was formally organized in 1930 by many of the same business leaders who started Mt. Olive Pickle.
“I have always been amazed at the level of vision among these business leaders – they made decisions based on what was good for the community, and we continue to benefit from that today,” she said.
In business since 1926, Mt. Olive Pickle Company is the largest privately-held pickle company in the nation, with operations encompassing one million square feet of production and warehouse space spread over 150 acres in Mount Olive. The company employs about 600 year-round with another 350 seasonal workers in the summer “green season.”
- Make Perfectly Pickled New Year’s Eve Plans
Join us at the Corner of Cucumber & Vine on Thursday, December 31 for the perfectly dill-lightful New Year’s Eve Pickle Drop.
The live music gets underway at 6, and the pickle comes down the pole at the stroke of 7 o’clock midnight. (At 7 pm EST it’s midnight GMT. We are early, but official.)
Remember to bring a canned food donation for the Food Bank of Central & Eastern NC for a chance to win a door prize.
And get here early. The whole thing’s over at 7:05.
Read more about it:
- We are featured on TWC’s Made in the Carolinas!
A recent Time Warner Cable News’ Made in the Carolinas segment explored a bit about Mt. Olive’s history and its current-day operations. Watch it now! Original air date: September 8, 2015.
- Check us out on Food Factory USA!
Mt. Olive was recently featured on FYI Network’s Food Factory USA!
The episode, “Peter Piper Picked a Peck” takes the show’s trademark light-hearted look at how Mt. Olive packs Pepperoncini peppers. You’ll even find out how many peppers Peter Piper picked in that peck…
The episode originally aired Monday, August 17.
Time Warner Cable and Direct TV customers can view it using On Demand.