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MiVT: Pin Up Pickles

Published: Jan. 17, 2022 at 5:50 PM EST
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BRISTOL, Vt. (WCAX) - For Hinesburg’s Rachel Smith, pickling is in her DNA.

“My family has been pickling and preserving for generations,” she said.

In her adult life, Rachel began as a nostalgic hobby after finishing grad school in 2009.

“Started with a small farmers market in Hinesburg which is now defunct and found footing with that, and people really seemed to enjoy what I was doing,” she said.

She named it Pin Up Pickles during a pinup phase in 2012.

“The name for the business stuck; the outfits did not,” Rachel noted.

Though the aesthetic didn’t stick around, the demand sure did. In 2015, Rachel kicked her hobby up a notch and has seen nearly 50% growth each year since then.

“We just hit a little niche in the market and somehow caught on,” she said.

Over time, Rachel added her mom and sister Erin to the team to help with the volume.

“She always seemed like she was having a lot of fun, and there were times when I was in between jobs and then I get to hang out with my sister,” Erin Smith said.

Now, the trio churns out delicious products year-round, including DIY pickling kits sold in small local markets and online.

At just over $8 a jar, you can trust that each batch is made with love.

“We appeal to a group of people that really want to keep their money local and we continue that by also keeping our money local,” Rachel explained.

The woman-owned and operated business digs deep into those Vermont roots by sourcing from local farms whenever possible.

“When in season, I’m doing almost 100% of my vegetable buying locally,” Rachel said. “I have a really good partnership with local farms.”

And it’s not just exclusive to cucumbers; Rachel’s best seller is her Dilly Beans-- pickled green beans.

Pin Up Pickles just won two Good Food Awards, one for her family Bread and Butter Pickle recipe, and the other, for pickled strawberries.

“The actual winning is really humbling as part of recognition of the work that we’re doing,” Rachel said. “The family recipe that’s been so important to generations of us and for the unique experience of pickling a crop that most people don’t consider pickle-able.”

Now that’s a pretty big dill.

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