Backyard Brine Pickles: A Labor of Love

Randy and Cori Kopke were in a pickle.

They wanted to preserve their delicious, verdant garden of homegrown produce. Pickling kits and solutions were available at their local grocery store; however, they realized most contained unnecessary dyes, chemicals, and additives. There was only one solution–make their own all-natural, fresh and local pickle brine. They researched the process, tested out different vinegars, unconventional spices, and innovative fermentation techniques to create an original and natural pickling method.

In 2013, the perfect opportunity to let their brine shine arose. Cori’s brother’s wedding was in need of party favors, so Cori and Randy put together 200 jars to give away. Each flavor was given a cute name like “‘Dill-Death-Do-Us-Part” and “We Go Together Like Bread and Butter.” The reaction was overwhelmingly positive and the calls for more homemade pickles came rolling in.

With the help of the Stony Brook University Calverton Incubator, which helps small food businesses get their start, the Kopkes started production of their pickles commercially. Now, they’ve built out their own production facility in Cutchogue and the pickles are available at Whole Foods and Fairways and found in over 300 locations all over Long Island, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and even as far as Maryland and Georgia.

The pickles all follow original, unique and creative recipes and have novelty names like “Rowdy Pepper Belly” and “BBQ-Betty Lou,” (the naming can be credited to the sharp wit of Cori Kopke.) They are hand-packed in small batches and are made from produce and herbs sourced from both their backyard and North Fork farmers. Backyard Brine offers 10 total varieties of pickles, 4 of which are only offered seasonally. The pickling process is different with each recipe, with some pickles fermented in water and sea salt over a period of time or the more traditional vinegar method.

You can sample these artisanal pickles at our 3rd annual East End Craft Beer Festival on Friday, April 7th, 2017 at 7pm. With admission, you’ll get a souvenir tasting glass that you can use for unlimited samples of local craft beer, you’ll also be able to sample local spirits, and fare from local vendors, such as Backyard Brine Pickles, and get unlimited hors d’oeuvres, chili, and chowder by Bistro 72. Designated Driver Tickets will be available for $20 and include all food and non-alcoholic tastings. The critically-acclaimed, country-folk band Miles to Dayton will perform live as well. Buy your ticket today on TicketFly here and invite your friends to the event on Facebook here.

If you can’t make this event, find them at the Sag Harbor farmer’s markets or order them as a crunchy side at Bistro 72. You can also try them out today at Greenport Harbor Brewing Company’s Peconic location from 5pm – 830pm. For Saint Patty’s Day, they’ve partnered with Little Creek Oysters for “Erin Go Brine” a beer, oyster and pickle tasting event.