Dear Sandra

Dear Sandra,

I just read a Voice article about a woman and her pickles [Pickles by D. Jabbour, v11 i41, Oct 8/03]. My mother-in-law also makes pickles. Her pickles are absolutely delicious. She just made a new batch this time using Green Beans. She is unbelievable as a person and as a cook.

She works very hard in all that she does but still has time to do the things she loves to do. Her cooking, no matter what it is, is always is perfect. I have watched her and surprised her when they come to visit by making one of her recipes. I have a long way to go but still keep trying. I wanted her to be able to show the world just how good these pickles really are. I have people all the time who try them say they would pay $5.00 for a jar of these pickles. I don’t know how to get them marketed to sell. She lives in Michigan and she always goes to the farmers market not to mention the garden she has of her own, I think she should be able to put them on the shelf for others to try.

If you, or your readers, have any suggestions on how to get started I would love to know.

Daughter-in-law in Chicago

Dear Daughter-in-law,

I have nothing but the utmost respect for individuals who can their own produce. For me, it’s too much time and effort, though I love the end results. I shop at farmers’ markets to reap the rewards of others’ extensive home-made efforts ;-).

Now, you are American, I am Canadian, so I’m just going to give you some basic advice that hopefully transfers across the border. You obviously know about the benefits of farmers’ markets for attracting people to a homemade product, but at Christmas time there are also a lot of co-mingles or trade shows dedicated to hawking homemade products such as crafts and baking. Watch your local newspaper for information on upcoming events. For trade shows and craft fairs, just as in farmers’ markets, there is usually a cost involved to set up shop, but your product is seen by tons of people.

Now, if these pickles are as good as you say they are, why not consider marketing them to local grocery stores? I’ve seen many products on the shelves of my local grocery store toting the slogan “Homegrown”. I’ve even seen individuals set up at the front of grocery stores. It may not just be grocery stores you target, but what about health food stores (especially if you do not use preservatives) or country craft or gift shops? It never hurts to ask if they will put the product on your shelf, for a small percentage of the profit. You should consult with your local municipality in regards to marketing products in this way; you may be required to get a business license or adhere to specific guidelines.

Another option is to take advantage of the success and convenience of the Internet. Start up your site, and start marketing the product. Your start-up costs will be a little higher as you’ll probably need a web designer, shipping materials, postage, credit card fees, etc: it all depends on how web savvy you are. You can also market your product on on-line auction sites like ebay, where the highest bidder takes the product.

That’s my advice; let’s see if the readers have anything to add:. Email to submit your advice to the pickle-loving daughter-in-law.