Blog: The Peck Slip Pickle Festival
In the shadows of the construction of holiday shops being erected at the South Street Seaport, the open air New Amsterdam Market was fully operational yesterday, serving as the venue for the 2011 Peck Slip Pickle Festival. Over 75 unique purveyors of pickling set up shop on the mild November afternoon, filling thousands of locals to the gills with samples and packing up to-go bags with affordably priced fare. The pickle vendors joined another 50 local market vendors making the event enjoyable even if you are not an out-right pickle enthusiast.
Having attended the Brooklyn Brewery’s “How to Pickle, Jar, & Ferment…” event earlier this year, we were certain to run into some familiar faces. Horman’s Best Pickles were on hand with several huge barrels of pickles- the horseradish being our nostril-flaring favorite, as were Bronx natives and represented at seemingly every food festival, Guss’ Pickles serving up some of their classic varieties as well as some krauts and relishes. Our immediate favorite however came from Brooklyn’s McClure’s Pickles, which we also learned later, can be found at most local Whole Foods stores. Serving tasty samples of their signature bloody mary mix as well as their spicy and garlic style pickles, McClure’s was distinctively delicious without being overly sour or garlicky. Essentially, it found a perfect middle ground for creating a tasty pickle, fresh and crunchy, almost savory, without leaving a disappointing aftertaste. Other highlights included Connecticut Jewish retreat center Adamah, who had excellent authentic, kosher pickles and some of the creamiest, smoothest feta cheese we’ve ever tasted, our buddies at Rick’s Picks, who brought their own varieties and also teamed with Saxelby Cheesemongers for a melted, warm Raclette cheese and pickle sandwich, and Pucker’s Pickles who cure their pickles, kimchis, and krauts in authentic Kentucky whiskey barrels.
Aside from the standout pickles and kimchis (Arirang and Mother-in-Law’s being the finest), Nolita’s Ellabess restaurant was on hand, preparing specialty chicken banh mi sliders with house made pickled cabbage slaw ($3) and some tasty packaged dinner rolls. Inventively, Peanut Butter & Co. was setup to serve their ‘pregnant lady’ sandwich made with their creamy peanut butter spread covering pickles. On the meat front, Branchville, New Jersey’s Mosefund Farm was dishing out samples of five meat tastings, not for the faint of heart- blood sausage, onion sausage, cheese sausage, meat pate, and liver pate, while the Hudson Valley Duck Farm was offering tasty a duck confit rillet spread, effectively separating itself from the pack. Other highlights included Brooklyn’s Barry’s Tempeh offering some incredibly savory vegan, vegetarian tempeh and Laena McCarthy from Anarchy in a Jar, who sold us on some deliciously sweet triple berry jam to pair with the aforementioned dinner rolls.
The Pickle Fest was successful in bringing thousands of hungry New Yorkers down to the New Amsterdam Market, some of which (us included) were able to check out the Sunday market for the first time. With the weather slowly turning wintry, the remaining weekends to check out events of this caliber are certainly diminishing, making our appreciation for this weekend’s Peck Slip Pickle Fest grow even fonder.
- Jane Van Arsdale