With the arrival of cucumber season 2021, Buckman Brines is officially one year old. Two years ago I had no idea that I would be a full-time fermenter, let alone sharing my ferments with so many people around Metro Portland and Southwest Washington.
This all started a few months into Covid lockdown when a friend found out that I had several cases of Full Sour Kosher Dills in a commercial refrigerator at B-Line. He ordered a case from me to share with his family and friends, and apparently those pickles really hit the spot!
When I shared with another friend about the sale of the full case, she ordered two cases, which wiped out my inventory. I shared about that sale with another friend, who ordered a case, requiring me to begin producing more. I found a commercial kitchen to ferment in, and was awarded a food producer license from the Oregon Department of Agriculture. We outgrew our first kitchen in about six weeks, and moved to our current location: under the stairs in the back of Hogan’s Goat Pizza, in Northeast Portland near Sandy and 52nd.
Our first batch of cucumbers and jars from Bella Organic Farm
Our first year has been an adventure. I’ve learned to source ingredients, jars, and lids. My first choice for jars was the wide-mouth Kerr Mason jar. Unfortunately, the manufacturer was unable to keep up with demand, and the last time I was able to find them at retail was Labor Day of 2020. We had enough jars to get us through the holidays, but after the beginning of this year we started to run short.
I took advantage of the post-holiday slowdown, and started searching for a replacement. I looked in Oregon and Washington, but couldn’t find anyone who could sell me commercial glass jars by the case (not by the pallet). I finally found a broker in New Jersey who could sell me exactly what I needed. The freight charges were one-third the total cost of the jars, but I needed them. They look great, and I’m thrilled with how easy they are to store in the walk-in. As an added bonus, the lids are gold, which goes great with our gift basket colors.
Our gift baskets have become more of a focus for us. Perfect as client appreciation gifts, they’ve become a favorite of real estate professionals. In response to customer requests, we will be adding some non-fermented pickled items to our menu: Cowboy Candy (candied hot peppers – highly addictive, fair warning), and Bread & Butter Pickles, which are probably our most requested item! I am currently working on sourcing a family recipe for our bread & butter pickles, but they should be available just in time for the holidays.
We’ll be mailing postcards to all of our customers from the past year with a special offer. Watch for that in the mail. If you’d like to be included in customer specials, please make a purchase in our web store.