By Brian Johnson
Jim Lawlor is the man behind the curtain of local gourmet food company, Pickled Pink Foods. Jim and his partner, Charlie Stephenson, were inspired to start the business in 2013 with the discovery of some old Southern pickling recipes passed down from Charlie’s family in Alabama. When a friend at the Southern Living test kitchen said, “They’re old fashioned, southern and there are not a lot like them on the market,” the pair decided to ramp up. They were off and rolling after receiving orders from 93 clients in 19 states for their flagship Sweet Gourmet Pickles at their first trade show in Atlanta.
The company has expanded the product line to include more recipes that are dripping with Southern style and flavor, including Spiced Watermelon Pickles, Sweet Heat Jalapenos, Gourmet Jalapeno Pickles, Pickled Okra, and Pickled Peaches. The newest flavor, Smokin’ Okra, was released this spring, with Pickled Peaches, and a Vidalia Onion and Peach Relish coming out before the holiday season.
The company does not have a retail storefront, preferring to sell through wholesalers and directly from its website (www.pickledpinkfoods.com). You can find Pickled Pink products for your upcoming holiday relish tray at your favorite locavore outlets like Cheeses and Mary, Wilbur and Rudy’s, and Roswell Hardware. The brand is also available nationally in The Fresh Market, the southeastern region of the Sprouts chain, and over 2,500 other retail distribution points in the US, Canada, and the UK.
Pickled Pink sounds like a big operation. But, surprisingly, it has only two full time employees…Lawlor as the daily do-it-all operator, and Stephenson providing financial accounting and marketing support. The company uses a local co-packer to assist in jarring the product, as well as to scale up Gramma’s original recipes. But it is Lawlor himself that orchestrates operations and pushes growth of the Pickled Pink empire out of a small office right here in Roswell.
Pickled Pink is also “Pickled for a Purpose.” A portion of all profits goes to Hunter’s Hotline (www.huntershotline.org). Stephenson’s family established the non-profit charity in honor of his son, who passed away in 2004.
Brian Johnson and his family have lived in North Fulton since 2000. He writes about food, music, and travel at knowagoodplace.com.