Delivery by appt, or email for pickup locations
Several weeks ago, I stepped into Championship Sports Bar and Grill (“No Sports, No Grill“) for a drink. I noticed behind the cash register were two large containers of an intoxicating-looking green liquor. “Is it absinth?” I queried Griffin, my bartender. “No,” he replied, “It is pickle juice. Trenton artisanal pickle juice.”
Of course, this was an opportunity not to be missed. “Good sir,” I said, “Please make me a pickletini.” (Unless you’ve been raised by wolves, you know that the pickletini is a dirty martini made with pickle juice instead of olive brine–a splendid invention). “Don’t call me sir,” said Griffin, “And will that be with the zesty garlic brine, or the spicy scotch bonnet brine?”
Now this promised to be trouble. Not one, but two pickle brines? Who made them? And most importantly, how did they taste? Of course I had Griffin make me one of each. And then another one or two for good measure. “Dude,” I slurred, “this is mighty strong pickle juice.”
I sobered up, and went back for subsequent visits–each time enjoying these two ambrosial, ethereal brines. Both are sweet and sour, thick and unctuous, and rich with complex flavors. The scotch bonnet is like a fiery ocean, with a peppery adolescent kick that will make you come back for more. The zesty garlic is piquant and savory, with a mature and aromatic tang. But where on earth did they come from?
It took me weeks of pickletinis, but I eventually tracked the supplier down. Her name is Adrienne Hart, and she’s a Trenton resident and purveyor of artisanal Trenton-made pickles, jams, and sauces. She began as a hobby, but eventually her friends at the Trenton Punk Rock Flea Market convinced her to set up a table at one of their festivals, where she sold out within 10 minutes. She now makes her products in a commercial kitchen, and currently offers four flavors of pickle (sweet hops, zesty garlic, sweet and spicy, and spicy scotch bonnet) as well as a pomegranate jalapeño jam and a cinnamon apple sauce. All of her products are naturally gluten-free and vegan.
I bought myself a case of assorted jars, and can say that even sober, her canned goods are superb. Everything she sells is canned in a hot water bath (the way your grandma used to can her scotch bonnet pickles…), so the shelf life is indefinite. Once opened, you’ll find Adrienne’s pickles to be perfectly crunchy, and bathed in her one-of-a-kind brines (which you must save for a pickletini or pickleback shot). I find the pickles a little sweet on their own, but if you’re putting them on a sandwich you will enjoy their brightness. I’ve also sampled her jams, and they’re divine.
Her goods are available at the Old Barracks Museum ($8 per jar or $28 for 4 jars), but it is a much better bargain if you buy them from her directly ($6 per jar or $20 for 4 jars). She can be found at the Punk Rock Flea Market or reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you order 4 jars, she will deliver, and if you order less, she’ll let you know when and where her pop-up pickle pick-up station will next appear (try saying that three times after three pickletinis). She stocks her pickle juice behind the bar at Champs or in the basement of Mill Hill Saloon, or you can buy a pitcher of your own (200 shots of pickle juice) for $60–apparently this is the perfect item if you’re planning a punk rock wedding.
Trenton’s food scene continues to grow fast, as we’ve seen by the rise of Trenton’s own underground coffee roaster. We’re thrilled to welcome these young, hip makers and creators to town, and to see how they transform our community with their entrepreneurial spirit and fantastic flavors. Do yourself a favor and sample Addy’s Canned Goods. Tell her that Hidden Trenton sent you.