5 Things to Know About North Carolina’s Mt. Olive Pickle Company

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By Sam Cohen

June 22, 2023

Mt. Olive Pickle Company has been a staple in North Carolina since it opened its doors way back in 1926. Located in Mount Olive in eastern North Carolina, the company was “originally founded for the purpose of brining cucumbers to be sold to other pickling firms.” From there, Mt. Olive has created popular relishes, peppers, and of course, an assortment of pickles.

Here are some other fast facts about the establishment of the Mt. Olive Pickle Company:

  • The idea for Mt. Olive initially came about in the early 1920s, when Shikrey Baddour, an immigrant from Lebanon, noticed wasted cucumber crops in the area.
  • 37 shareholders originally put up the money for Shikrey’s company in 1926 so he could “pack and sell” his own pickles through Mt. Olive.
  • Most of the company’s production during its first year of operation was done exclusively by hand.

What Most Mt. Olive Fans Don’t Know

Mt. Olive is the largest privately held pickle company in the US

Yup, you read that right. Mt. Olive Pickle Company is the largest privately held pickle company in the nation “with one million square feet of production and warehouse space on 150 acres in Mount Olive,” according to Our State.

The popular pickle company is also one of the biggest employers in North Carolina, providing over 600 jobs to local residents. In 2022, Mt. Olive Pickle expanded into Goldsboro, creating an additional 165+ jobs for people in the Tar Heel State. 

In the 1940s, Mt. Olive was one of the first companies to establish a profit sharing plan

In 1943, Mt. Olive established a profit sharing plan for its employees, becoming one of the first 200 companies to do so in the United States. (A profit sharing plan is an agreement essentially establishing a pension plan that’s maintained by the employer, in which the employer shares a portion of profits with the company’s employees). The profit sharing plan was extended to all full-time employees of Mt. Olive and it eventually led to further employee benefits in the 1950s.

By 1959, the company officially created an Employee Community Fund that is still operated to this day. Contributions from employees are voluntary, but the funds are used to help local community organizations, like the Boys and Girls Club of Mount Olive.

Mt. Olive is the best selling pickle brand in the nation

Fans of Mt. Olive pickles probably won’t find this news surprising, even if they didn’t know all the particulars. Mt. Olive is considered the No. 1 best-selling pickle brand in the country, and its most popular (and profitable) flavor is the Kosher Dill.

Websites like The Kitchn and Tasting Table have put this claim to the test, and they agreed that Mt. Olive pickles really are the best of the best—at least when it comes to eating them, anyway.

Folks who live in Mt. Olive celebrate New Year’s with a Pickle Drop

Every year on New Year’s Eve (weather permitting) Mt. Olive residents attend the festive Pickle Drop. The New Year’s Eve Pickle Drop started in 1999, and the event features live music, an array of food trucks, free pickles (!), prizes, and much more.

Sound right up your alley? You can learn more info about the Pickle Drop here and start preparing for this year’s big event.

Curious about what a Pickle Drop looks like? So were we.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B6wiCu_gdWk/

Mt. Olive Pickle Company produces a lot of pickles…and we mean a lot

On average, the Mt. Olive Pickle Company produces about 150 million jars of pickles each year. 150 million jars of pickles! The company’s tank yard in North Carolina has the capacity to hold around 40 million pounds of cucumbers at any given time.

Another fun fact? Approximately one third of the cucumbers used at Mt. Olive are sourced from independent farmers in NC. 

READ MORE: 16 NC Trails That Take You To Something Awesome

Author

  • Sam Cohen

    Sam is the Editorial Product Manager in the Community Department at COURIER Newsroom. Prior to joining the organization, Sam worked as a writer and editor covering topics ranging from literature, health & wellness, and astrology to the British royal family and profiles of notable actors and musicians.

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