Since 2001, Bradley Bennett has been making his spicy blend of pickles for friends and family from his kitchen in Santa Barbara, California. All-natural and hand-crafted using produce grown in California, the "West Coast" style of spicy pickles has been known to convert many non-pickle eaters into pickle lovers after their first try!
What Inspired You To Start Your Company?
I had created something that I was giving out as holiday gifts every year. Every year there was more and more demand. People loved them so I decided to put it to market to see if I could get more of the world to love it too. I was also at a point in my life where I was ready to be my own boss, and creating business appealed to me.
Tell us about your products.
We are makers of small-batch hand-packed all-natural pickles, pickled veggies and savory drink mixers. We feature produce grown locally in Santa Barbara in what we have termed a “West Coast style” of pickles. We have a wide variety of pickled veggies including spicy garlic pickle spears, pickled green beans, carrots, okra, fennel root and Brussels Sprouts. Our products are known for their superior taste and texture – oh, and for our clever product names such as “Jalabeaños”, “Asparagusto”, “Carriots of Fire”, “Brussizzle Sprouts”, etc.
What Does Being A Small-Batch “Artisan” Mean To You?
It means that it was made right here with quality ingredients and a human packed (and looked at) every jar.
What is your favorite small-batch treat?
We have lots of great locally crafted beer and wine here in Santa Barbara – so yeah, that.
What Drew You To Food?
I was not raised in home that was big into food, but somehow throughout my life I have been drawn to people that enjoy food – like really enjoy food. I didn’t purposefully seek them out, it just happened. As such, I learned to appreciate the craft through these associations.
Where Does Your Food Inspiration Come From?
When I eat something I like, I often want to try to recreate it. I get excited by the idea of trying to identify all the parts and flavors and then figuring out how I would go about making it, or something similar in my own style.
What Products Are You Working On Now?
Savory drink mixers. A few years ago we came out with our Bloody Mary Elixir which is a liquid seasoning (basically everything by the tomato juice). But, I didn’t want to just combine a bunch of other products to make ours, so I set out to figure out how to make Worcestershire sauce from scratch so we could have a completely hand-crafted and all-natural product. Our latest creation is a Michelada Shrub which just hit the shelves this summer.
Do You Have a Favorite Product?
I’m loving our new Michelada Shrub – it’s so versatile as both a drink mixer and a marinade. I keep coming up with new ways to use it. But when it comes to pickles, I’m always partial to our pickled beets.
Latest Ingredient Obsession?
Mexican oregano and mayonnaise. Not necessarily together, buy maybe???
What Did You Have For Dinner Last Night?
Chicken enchiladas – marinated in our Michelada Shrub. Makes the chicken so tangy and delicious.
What Person, Living Or Dead, Would You Most Like To Have Try Your Product?
What’s The Best Piece Of Advice You’ve Gotten In Building Your Business? What Advice Would You Give Other artisans?
There’s a ton of regulatory and business stuff involved in creating packaged food products. If you’re not interested in the business side of things, then find a partner who is or think twice about doing it. I’ve seen too many people quit after figuring that out or running out of money. They get into the business because they want to sell their amazing cookie, but then find out it’s not really about that.
What Other Local Food Artisans or Chefs Do You Admire?
I truly admire every single local producer that put everything on the line to create their business. There are so many great brewers, wine makers and food makers here in Santa Barbara that risked everything, often contrary to good judgement, and just made it happen. It takes guts and commitment.
If You Had To Choose Your Last Meal, What Would It Be?
Steamed artichokes and King crab with sides of melted butter and mayo.
Favorite Restaurant or Food Experience?
So hard to pick just one. My mind is always blown whenever Cindy Black at The Blue Owl in Santa Barbara makes my favorite dish – Porducken. Yes, it’s what you think it is.
What Do You Enjoy Doing Outside of the Kitchen?
Eating and drinking.
What’s Your Favorite Kitchen Soundtrack?
Cake on shuffle play