Get 'em while you can: Shoppers snap up last batch of mustard pickles

Pickle maker giving up on Zest and Habitant brands

Colemans customer nabs last bottle of Zest

Rosemary Williams has her pickles, but they're going fast. (Mark Cumby/CBC)



Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are mourning the loss of ... a brand of mustard pickles.

A staple in a traditional boiled dinner, the tasty mixture sold under the Zest and Habitant labels has been discontinued by producer Smucker Foods of Canada Corporation.

Zest Mustard Pickles

The company that makes the Zest and Habitant brands says it will put out a new product under the Bick's label. (Mark Cumby/CBC)

Pickle lover Phyllis Pottle said she ran to the store as fast as she could when she heard the news.

"My grandson Gabriel just called me, and he told me that they were going out of business," said Pottle.

"They love the pickles, so I said I'd go right over now and buy as many as possible." 

Pottle said she picked up 8 jars for her grandsons and family, and hopes they last a long time.

But she's already dreading the day when the mustard pickles — that pair so well with salt beef, turkey and other traditional dishes — will be no more. 

Phyllis Pottle

Phyllis Pottle doesn't mess around... as soon as she heard the news about the mustard pickles, she headed to the store to stock up. (Mark Cumby/CBC)

"It won't be the same, because the taste will be gone, the pickles will be gone, and I might even have to end up making some myself."

'You might see them on Ebay'

Paul Power, an assistant manager at Colemans on Merrymeeting Road in St. John's, said Friday that demand for the pickles has been consistently high at the store.

"It's one of our best sellers, especially around the holiday season and all that, people really enjoy having it with their meal," he said.

Paul Power

Paul Power, an assistant manager at Coleman's, says that the grocery company is working with a local pickle maker to put a replacement product on the market. (Mark Cumby/CBC)

"Customers are real curious to know when the pickles will come back in stock, and if we're going to have any more," he said. 

"It's devastating to some. I guess people just want their mustard pickles for their jiggs dinner."

The store is working on an alternative to appease its loyal customers.

But on Friday afternoon, all anyone seemed to care about were Zest mustard pickles, and Power said there were still approximately 120 jars left in the store.

Demand is so high, Power has a theory on where they might end up.

"You might see them on Ebay, who knows"

Social media pickle panic

It was a Whitbourne businessman who broke the news about the pickle plan on Thursday.

Not meaning to incite panic ...

But it was too late.

And it was every pickle lover for themselves.

Like any great tragedy, after anger and fear comes sadness.

Even local politician PC MHA Steve Kent chimed in about the culinary crisis.

It's the latest Newfoundland food crisis to hit the province since the shortage of Carnation and Fussell's tinned cream in 2013.

Smucker Foods of Canada said in a statement that it has "updated" its Bick's Sweet Mustard pickles "to offer consumers a quality replacement."

That product is set to hit stores in June.

Will it be the same?

Only time will tell.

But in the meantime, the race to grab the remaining jars of mustard pickles has already begun.

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