Hailing from Mississippi and England, Kendra Coggin and Baron Conway have been avid picklers since their mums first slathered Chow-Chow and Piccalilli on their school lunch sandwiches.
“Both sets of parents like to cook.” Baron describes Kendra’s palate as influenced by the “sweet heat of the South,” and he means the Southern influences of combining spices and sweetness together. In his own family, “pickles were part of our diet all the time, and my mother did a bit of pickling. My palate is more savory, dilly.”
Kendra and Baron met at a digital marketing agency in Los Angeles. For Kendra, pickling and preserving began as a hobby, a creative outlet. Baron joined in, finding being in the kitchen a welcome change from the rigors of the agency world and a great extension of his love of cooking. The products of their efforts were enthusiastically received by their friends.
Both of them had been seeking to start something for themselves, and so they decided to see if pickling could become the kernel of a business opportunity. “We saw a gap in the market and decided to take advantage of it. We were working on several tracks: market analysis, product ideas, our production process, and getting the required regulatory approvals.” Pernicious Pickling Co. was launched in October 2013.
Their influences have come through celebrating the bold flavors of their Southern-English heritages and the rich cultural diversity of their home in Southern California. While their pickles are great on their own or with a sandwich, from the beginning, their philosophy has been that “Pickles ain’t just for sandwiches.” They intended their pickles to be an ingredient in the recipes of the foods and drinks they love. “We are completely committed to creating flavors that we love and that can be combined with other foods. Every jar has recipes, always including a cocktail. And on our website we’ve aggregated quite literally 100’s of recipes.”
A bonus with Pernicious Pickling Co. is that the brine is just as versatile as the pickles. They have created different brines to match different flavor profiles, for balance, depth of flavor, and versatility. “Every component of the product we make is useable in the foods you like to eat: marinades, dressings, cocktails, and more.”
When asked about the name, Baron laughs, “Well, it is memorable. We liked the subtle alliteration, since pernicious means ‘harming slowly,’ and pickling is definitely a transformative process.”
Kendra and Baron are proud of the fact that everything about their products is intentional: the jars, the labels, the look and feel – and especially the pickles where they have created bold, balanced flavors that are delectable and instantly recognizable.
Another very important driver for them is continuous improvement, looking for ways to refine their products. “It’s important to never forget where we came from, where we began, and to be consistent with our quality.”
“One of the things we have loved most of all is the discovery that – no matter the type of person – pickle people are happy people. People who love life, love pickles! That makes it all worth it. We’re working harder than we ever have, and it is so rewarding we wouldn’t be doing anything else.”