Frequently Asked Questions From Our Customers
Mt. Olive Pickle Company was founded in 1926 by a group of local business people who believed creating a new market for area farmers would benefit the whole town. Shikrey Baddour, and his friend George Moore, had gotten things started earlier by attempting to launch a brinestock operation. When that idea fell through, local business people realized that Shikrey was onto something, and the Mt. Olive Pickle Company was established. Visit our history page to read more about how we got started in the 1920s.
Mt. Olive is headquartered at the famous Corner of Cucumber and Vine in Mount Olive, North Carolina. We’ve been located in North Carolina since our humble beginnings nearly a century ago!
Yes! For all of its nearly 100 years, Mt. Olive Pickle’s manufacturing plant has been located in the small Eastern North Carolina town of Mount Olive, North Carolina. Today, most of the fresh cucumbers and peppers that we use in our products are procured in the United States (and one-third of that is sourced in North Carolina). We purchase some abroad for select sizes in quantities that aren’t available in the US, and for fresh cucumbers at times of the year when domestic supplies aren’t available.
We have a few pepper items, Roasted Red Peppers, Marinated Roasted Red Peppers, and Pepperoncini, which are grown and packed for us in Peru and Greece. You’ll note the countries of origin on the labels of those products.
In recent years, to temporarily meet increased demand and sufficiently service our customers, we have worked with a trusted partner in India to produce a small number of high-volume pickle items. We also continue to produce these in North Carolina. We anticipate bringing production of most of these items wholly back to North Carolina once we have expanded our production capacity. In the meantime, you may see some items labeled as a Product of India.
Most Mt. Olive products feature safety button caps. This means you should hear an audible “pop” when you first open each jar. The button caps are marked for consumers with the words “Do not purchase if safety button is up.” In place of a button cap on its spear and sandwich stuffer items, Mt. Olive uses tamper-evident banding – a clear plastic ring around the top of each jar. The stronger vacuums required for button caps negatively impact the product quality of these fresh-cut products once opened. Jars with tamper-evident bands may or may not pop, but they should be reasonably difficult to open for the first time.
Our jalapeno and banana pepper items use neither button caps nor tamper-evident banding. Because of the impact on product quality, we do not pack our peppers with button caps. These products are vacuum-sealed and should be reasonably difficult to open for the first time. Consumers should hear either a “pop” or a “whoosh” of air.
We are named for our hometown of Mount Olive, North Carolina, incorporated in 1870. The town sprang up around a railroad depot and post office established in the 1850s by Benjamin Oliver, the son of a Baptist minister. When asked by railroad officials about naming the new depot, the story goes that the modest Oliver demurred at naming it after himself. So the parties agreed to Mount Olive, for the biblical Mount of Olives. Ironic, given the town’s presence on the Coastal Plain of North Carolina, and the fact that olives aren’t grown or packed here. No mounts in Mount Olive, nor olives, either.
Occasionally we hear from our customers who find a pickle – usually a spear – that appears to have a “bite mark” in it, teeth marks and all. It’s certainly unsettling! But the culprit isn’t human. It’s one of our machines, pictured in the video.
A small cylinder holds the pickle in place while the ends are cut off. Watch the pickle on the left: If the pickle gets stuck or doesn’t move on promptly like it should, the cylinder comes back down and actually punches a hole. When this damaged pickle is cut into a spear, it looks very much like a bite somewhere in the middle. The video is shown in almost real time – about one pickle per second.
You’ll find the “Best By Date” stamped on the shoulder of the jar, on the glass itself, near where it curves into the lid. Just above this is a production code.
By the way, we have a 24-month date on our cut products, and a 30-month date on everything else. Because of the way we make our pickles, they do not spoil over time. They may just get a little darker in color and soften up. If you have a jar past its “Best By Date” there’s no harm in trying it for taste and texture. If it still tastes fine, enjoy!
Hurricanes, storms, and power outages happen! Such conditions can knock out power for hours, if not days. Once power is restored and you’re cleaning out the refrigerator, don’t toss the pickles! Pickles and pickled peppers won’t spoil or otherwise pose a health threat even if left unrefrigerated for a period of time. They can sometimes ferment – meaning the juice will turn cloudy and the pickles will eventually darken and get soft. If this occurs, just toss them out, as the flavor and texture will be off. Otherwise, enjoy your pickles!
Your opened jar of pickles doesn’t need to go back in the refrigerator immediately. Sit back, relax, enjoy your snack. But after a few hours, an opened jar of pickles should go back in the refrigerator.
Some of our items are indeed fermented – our relishes and salad cubes, sweet, sour, and dill pickles, and our picklePAK single-serve cup items.
The crunch of the pickle largely depends on when the cucumbers are picked! Cucumbers picked at the height of ripeness, paired with the right ingredients and brine, lead to a perfectly crisp and crunchy pickle.
Yes! We now bottle our pickle juice in 2 oz. bottles (in 3- and 18- packs) and in 64 oz. jugs. Look for the new Mt. Olive Juicers in a store near you!
Mt. Olive products contain NONE of the following items:
- Crustacean Shellfish
- Tree Nuts
Mt. Olive does not currently offer public tours of its plant. However, we have a dill-lightful little gift shop at our headquarters that the public is welcome to visit. You can also take pictures at the most famous corner in Eastern North Carolina: the Corner of Cucumber & Vine. Gift shop hours are 8 AM – 5 PM each weekday.
We also offer a tour video that you can view on YouTube here:
Our 55-gallon barrels are not available for sale to the general public. We recommend you contact Jonathan Jones at (919) 921-0967 for information about purchasing barrels.
We use garlic in many Mt. Olive items. In fact, one of the connotations of the word “kosher” is that garlic flavoring is present. Think Kosher Dill Spears or Kosher Baby Dills. Any item with the word “kosher” in the name will contain garlic.
As an ingredient, garlic does not appear specifically on our labels because it is included under natural flavors. This is in accordance with FDA labeling guidelines. The garlic and other flavors we use, like dill, are extracts rather than fresh or dehydrated ingredients. The use of extracts allows a more consistent flavor between jars and batches.
We use garlic flavoring extensively in our products and across multiple production lines in our facilities. And not all Mt. Olive products that contain garlic flavoring will have the word “kosher” in their names. We recommend those with significant garlic sensitivities to refrain from consuming our products.
Yes, a number of our products contain onion, either fresh or dehydrated. In either case, the presence of onion is indicated on the label’s ingredient list. The onion flavor is also an extract in our salsa items and is included under natural flavors under FDA labeling guidelines. Because we use onion extensively in our products and across multiple production lines in our facilities, we recommended those with significant onion sensitivities refrain from consuming our products.
Generally, the word “kosher” references the fact that garlic flavoring has been added –e.g., our Mt. Olive Kosher Dills, Kosher Dill Spears, and Kosher Baby Dills all contain garlic.
The word “kosher” also has a connotation of being religiously clean. Nearly all of Mt. Olive’s products are certified as kosher by the Orthodox Union and bear the OU symbol on the label. The lone exception is our 16 oz. Sweet Mixed item.