Farmers' Markets

Farmers' Market Finds: Mountain Girl Pickles Preserves a Family Tradition

Mountain Girl Pickles are made from locally sourced vegetables and canned in Boulder.
Mountain Girl Pickles are made from locally sourced vegetables and canned in Boulder. Mountain Girl Pickles
Farmers' market season is coming to an end, but there's still plenty of local produce and handcrafted goodies to enjoy. In the final 2022 edition of Farmers' Market Finds, recipe developer and freelance writer Ashlee Redger highlights Mountain Girl Pickles and dishes up a recipe using its goods.

Vendor: Mountain Girl Pickles

Where to find it: Boulder, Fort Collins, South Pearl Street and Longmont farmers' markets, as well as select Natural Grocers and several locally owned stores. Check out the Pickle Locator for a full list of locations.

For more info: Visit mountaingirlpickles.com

About the business: Laraina James learned how to pickle and preserve fresh, local produce from her dad. In fact, she's the fourth generation in her family to take up the trade. It started as a necessity, with her great-grandmother canning produce that the family grew on their farm in New York so they could have vegetables and fruits to enjoy throughout the winter. By the time James's father was in high school, the family had moved away from the farm to New Orleans — taking their tradition of canning with them.
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Laraina James is a fourth-generation canner and shares her products at farmers' markets and stores around the state.
Mountain Girl Pickles
"Growing up, I didn't really want to learn [how to can]," James says. It wasn't until adulthood, when her dad came to visit her in Nederland in the summer of 2014, that she finally picked it up. She leaned into the craft immediately. Before long, she was creating batches of pickled cucumbers and green beans that adorned the Bloody Marys in the restaurant she was working for at the time. James sold jars of her pickled vegetables at a small market in Nederland, but soon moved on to farmers' markets around the state. Now you can find Mountain Girl Pickles in dozens of grocers and farmers' markets ranging from Fort Collins to Parker.

Sourcing locally grown produce is important to James. She works with fellow farmers' market vendors and nearby growers to get the best vegetables while they're in season. Some of her biggest suppliers include Miller Farms in Platteville, Black Cat Farm in Boulder and Switch Gears Farm in Longmont. "It tastes better when you know where it comes from," James says.
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Mountain Girl Pickles' Pickled Okra received a Good Food Award in 2022.
Mountain Girl Pickles
All of the Mountain Girl Pickles are made simply, with a garlic, dill and spice brine that transforms cucumbers, garlic, green beans, beets and more into crisp, tangy delicacies. Growing up around Cajun cuisine, James's New Orleans upbringing shows in her generously flavored brine, which is more nuanced than your average dill pickle. Her pickled okra even received a Good Food Award earlier this year. Another standout product in the Mountain Girl Pickle lineup is the corn relish: James says it's her only product that contains a little sugar, which helps accentuate the sweetness of the corn. It is a Midwestern and Southern staple that is just as delicious alongside tortilla chips as it is served over roasted salmon or grilled meats.

How to use it:
"Most anything is great in a Bloody Mary," James suggests. You can add a splash of the pickle brine to your bloody mix, then garnish the glass with a skewer full of pickled okra, green beans and asparagus. She also loves spooning the corn relish onto bratwursts and Tex-Mex food for a little sweet crunch. All of the Mountain Girl Pickle veggies are great additions to charcuterie boards or sliced as sandwich toppings. For an easy-but-fancy fall side, try roasting the pickled Brussels sprouts alongside cabbage, then drizzle with a sour cream dill dressing.
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Tangy pickled Brussels sprouts, charred cabbage, and a creamy dill dressing come together to create an easy-to-love side dish.
Ashlee Redger

Roasted Cabbage & Pickled Brussels Sprouts With Creamy Dill Dressing
  • 1 small head cabbage
  • Oil, to drizzle (whatever you like to use for cooking: canola, avocado, olive etc.)
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 cup Pickled Brussels Sprouts (about one whole jar, drained)
  • 1 medium shallot, cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup liquid brine from Pickled Brussels Sprouts
  • 1/4 tsp dried dill weed or 1/2 tsp finely chopped fresh dill
  • 1/4 tsp dried Aleppo pepper flakes or crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Remove any dirty or loose leaves from the outside of the cabbage, then cut through the core into eight wedges. Place the cabbage on a large sheet pan, then drizzle with oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Make sure the cabbage is evenly coated on both sides. Roast until the wedges are browned around the edges, about 20 to 30 minutes. Flip the cabbage over, then add the pickled Brussels sprouts and shallot slices to the sheet and continue roasting until the other side of the wedges and the shallot slices are also browned, about 20 to 30 more minutes.

2. While the cabbage is roasting, make the dressing. Mix sour cream, brine, dill and pepper flakes together. Salt and pepper to taste, then set aside.

3. Once the vegetables are lightly charred, remove the sheet from the oven and let the cabbage cool slightly. You can serve the cabbage in wedges or cut out the core and cut it into slices. Drizzle the roasted vegetables with the creamy dill dressing, then garnish with a little extra dill and pepper flakes if desired before serving.
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For this year's holiday season, stock up on locally-made gifts like bars from Olde Crone's Bewitching Bath Soap.
Olde Crone’s Bewitching Bath Soap/Instagram

Bonus farmers' market finds: As the weather gets progressively chillier, October marks the end of the season for most farmers' markets. A few holdouts — including the Boulder, Longmont and South Pearl locations — will stick around until mid-November. Don a sweater this weekend, and keep your eye out for these autumnal treasures:
  • Summer produce like tomatoes, peaches and corn is scarce now, but October is abundant with late season fruits and veggies. Apples, hardy greens, root vegetables and winter squash varieties are ripe and available. If you are looking to try something new, skip the butternut squash and go for delicata instead. Once you have removed the stem and seeds, these yellow and green-striped squash can be roasted and enjoyed with the skin on. Drizzle the cooked delicata pieces with a little maple syrup or hot honey to accentuate the natural sweetness.
  • Local apple cider will only be around for a brief window. Pick up a jug and simmer it with mulling spices at home to make your house smell incredible. Spike your cup with a little spiced rum or bourbon if you're already starting to feel festive.
  • Pick up a few different artisan products so that you have handcrafted gifts ready for this holiday season. Goat milk soap bars from Olde Crone's Bewitching Bath Soap, a funky-shaped heirloom wheat pasta from Pastificio Boulder or a gift basket full of Il Porcellino salumi are just a few ideas of what local vendors have to offer.
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Ashlee Redger is a recipe developer and food geek with strong Midwestern roots. When she’s not cooking & baking, you can find her obsessing about podcasts, acting busy in coffee shops and searching for fancy cocktails around town.
Contact: Ashlee Redger

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