Bob McClure is an actor who travels the country doing Shakespeare. His brother Joe (shown at left) goes to grad school at Wayne State. Together, they run McClure’s Pickles, a rapidly growing Troy-based gourmet food company. The McClure brothers do not get much sleep these days.
As recently as three years ago, the only way to get a McClure’s pickle was to exchange gifts with a McClure. Using an old family recipe, Joe and Bob have been brining since they were kids and gave out jars to family and friends around the holidays. On a whim, the brothers decided to turn their pickle-making hobby into a business. Bob, who lives in Brooklyn, got a few jars placed in local markets. One of the first that sold was to a New York Times reporter who published a glowing review in the paper’s food section. Since then, the McClures have been busy trying to get their Spicy Spears and Garlic Dills to
foodies across the country.
From Bob delivering cases of pickles around New York City in a rented hatchback to Joe working a stand at Eastern Market only a few hours after he’s been there to buy produce, McClure’s prides itself as being about as DIY as a business can get. With some help from Mom and Dad, Joe and Bob do all the buying, pickling, packaging, and distributing. Despite this lack of manpower, McClure’s pickles can be found in 11 states, with more coming every couple of months.
McClure’s pickles have a taste that can’t be matched by any big name brand. The jars come loaded with chunks of garlic and peppers that are delicious in their own right. The juice can be added to tomato juice and vodka to make a great bloody mary. Currently, the McClures offer robust Garlic Dills and red-hot Spicy Spears, both of which can also be bought as relish. Plans are in the works to introduce a beer-based mustard that will be made with local microbeers from wherever the mustard is sold. In Michigan, Atwater Block Brewery of Detroit and Black Lotus Brewing in Clawson will be the suppliers.
The McClures believe in supporting local farmers and suppliers and in creating foods that use natural ingredients. It’s a belief that translates into some great products. To find out how to get some McClure’s or learn more about them, go to mcclurespickles.com. Or better yet, visit Eastern Market and talk to Joe yourself. For more information you can visit www.mcclurespickles.com