C & G Staff Writer
It started with a family recipe.
Michael McClure, of McClure’s Pickles in Troy, explained that the pickle recipe came from the grandmother of his wife, Jenny.
“We’ve been making them in our family kitchens for 37 years,” he said. “Our sons, Robert and Joe, grew up watching us make these, then helping us (to) make these.”
He explained that the pickles were a big hit with the boys’ friends as they were growing up.
“I also gave them away for Christmas gifts,’ Michael said.
Robert and Joe were after their parents to go into business with the pickles for years, but Michael, who worked in sales and marketing, resisted.
“I didn’t want to work that hard,” he said.
But about three years ago, the younger McClures designed a Web site, completed coursework at Cornell University in acidic food processing and earned Michigan ServSafe certification, and McClure’s Pickles was born.
Using Michigan cucumbers whenever possible, flowering dill from Ontario, Canada, and California-grown garlic, McClure’s makes two varieties of pickles: spicy, and garlic and dill. The company also creates the same two varieties of relish.
The pickles received rave reviews in the July issue of Martha Stewart Living.
Ruth Altchek of Martha Stewart Living writes, “It’s rare to find a line of prepared foods in which every item is delicious. The family-run company’s two varieties of pickles and relish … and its pair of multi-grain mustards incorporating beers from Michigan and New York, are all perfectly seasoned and textured.”
Christine Albano of Martha Stewart Living states in a letter to the McClures, “We loved them and know our readers will too.”
McClure’s was also featured in a story about a flea market on the Brooklyn Bridge that appeared in The New York Times, and in Bon Appetit magazine in March.
Michael explained that Robert is based in Brooklyn, where he is an actor and “some product” is made, and Michael has established McClure’s in that area.
At present, all jars of pickles and relish are hand-packed. The pickles are produced with a heat process, which allows the jars to remain un-refrigerated until they are opened. The labels are printed on recycled paper with wind-powered presses, and the company recycles cardboard boxes.
The McClures plan to expand the product line to include mustard and ketchup locally.
When the pickles are gone, keep what’s left in the jar, Michael said.
“Put anything you like — beets, hard-cooked eggs, cauliflower, broccoli, green beans, carrots — in the brine for 10 days. Or mix the brine with tomato juice for Bloody Mary mix.”