The Year Long Adventure has provided our family with many new opportunities. One of the things we have really enjoyed is taking factory tours and learning how things are made. On Leg 2, we toured Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream in Vermont and Herr’s Snack Foods in Pennsylvania (You can relive these adventures here and here). Leg 5 led us to St. Joe, Indiana, and a tour of the Sechler’s Pickle Factory. Our 9-year old daughter is a big fan of pickles, and our research told us that this was the only factory tour of a pickle plant in the United States.
Ralph Sechler started working in the pickle business in 1914, and by 1921, he and his wife were making and selling pickles out of their home in St. Joe. Today Sechler’s makes over 40 varieties of pickles, relishes, and specialty items. The company offers free tours of their factory, and they show guests their process for making and packaging their products.
The tour was very interesting, and one of the things that amazed us was the amount of sugar needed to make sweet pickles and relish. It was fun to watch the complex machinery needed to turn a cucumber into a pickle ready for shipment to stores. Unfortunately, no pictures or video were allowed inside the factory, so you’ll have to trust us or schedule a visit to Indiana.
After our walk through the factory, we were able to dive into Sechler’s tasting table and sample some of their delicious products. We ended our tour by taking a family picture with a giant pickle. Good times.
St. Joe, Indiana, is also the home of the annual St. Joe Pickle Festival. This annual celebration, held every year in August, includes events like the decorated Pickle People contest, Pickle Derby, and the Pickle Pepper Poker Walk. Who knew pickles could be so much fun?
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