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article imageOp-Ed: From a wheel cart in Boston to Wine Country, pickles are here Special

By Jonathan Farrell     Oct 20, 2015 in Business
Sonoma - Customers at Whole Foods in Northern California's wine country got a chance to sample Grillo’s Pickles this month. Savannah Hoffman, sales and merchandising coordinator for Grillo’s was eager to present both the savory and the sweet versions
of the company’s all natural family recipe at the Whole Foods location in Sonoma. “It all started with a pickle cart, just a small wooden stand in downtown Boston, where Travis Grillo and his friends would sell two spears for one dollar,” she said.
Travis was a designer who was all set to join Nike shoes. But when that prospect did not happen, Travis decided to put his creative skills into another endeavor. He remembered summers as a kid enjoying the delicious homemade pickles. Being from an Italian family he was able to find the recipe and started to make batches at home.
In 2008 he began selling pickles at first casually, but then he found a spot at the Boston Common and set up the cart with his buddies. They would hang out all day, on the Common urging people to try the simple Grillo family pickle – two spears for a dollar.
As the popularity of the pickles grew, Travis got into the routine of making the pickles at night; and then in the morning, he would bike to the Boston Common at get everything set up for that day.
“It was a small business, he said. But I worked hard for it.” “I made more pickles, biked more miles, and slept less hours than I ever had before.”
Yet it all worked out and to Travis’ surprise Whole Foods Markets (in the Boston/New England area) and the Boston Red Sox asked to feature the pickles. It went on from there and in just a few short years Grillo’s pickles was able to expand nationally.
Travis explained why. “Our products are crisp, with the perfect crunch in each bite, he said. “It is a clean taste, with only ingredients you would find in your garden; and fresh, with the cool, zesty flavor pickles are supposed to have.”
There are no chemicals and preservatives like calcium chloride and sodium benzoate in Grillo’s Pickles.
Savannah Hoffman was at the Whole Foods Market in Sonoma on Oct. 1 to introduce customers to Grillo ...
Savannah Hoffman was at the Whole Foods Market in Sonoma on Oct. 1 to introduce customers to Grillo's Pickles.
For such a simple product, other than superior taste and quality there is no special magic.
“Our brine consists solely of water, distilled white vinegar, and salt,” said Travis. And, thatʼs it!” “Then we toss in some organic dill, he said some fresh garlic from California, and some grape leaves which act as a natural preserver.” “So this isnʼt just the best tasting pickle around, he said itʼs the healthiest, too!
Interestingly, pickles or pickled cucumbers have been around since ancient times. “Not only have archaeologist been able to trace evidence of pickles as far back as 2400 BC, said Nancy Ralph of the NY Food Museum, Roman emperors, such as Julius Caesar, is said to have fed pickles to his troops in the belief that they lent physical and spiritual strength.”
Now that Grillo’s pickles have arrived in the San Francisco Bay area through a Whole Foods locale like the wine country of Sonoma, no doubt Grillo’s will get noticed.
The reviews on Yelp have been stellar. And, Whole Foods customers in Sonoma like Cyndy Bertolini, not only sampled the pickles, she bought some.
As a cheese and winemaking region, the Sonoma and Napa Valleys are an ideal place to introduce a new food item. Made in five varieties, Grillo’s offers Italian Dill Spears, Hot Italian Dill Spears, Italian Dill Chips, Hot Italian Dill Chips and Sweet Bread & Butter Chips.
“What I like about the ‘Bread & Butter Chips’ is they are subtle, not too sweet. And, the flavor is outstanding and very fresh,” she said.
Available in 16 and 32-ounce sizes, Grillo’s Pickles is in the refrigerated section of the local Whole Foods on West Napa Street here in Sonoma. To learn more about Grillo's Pickles visit the web site and the page on Facebook.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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