Nfld. & Labrador

'We're not going to let Newfoundlanders down': local pickle maker combats mustard mayhem

Business is booming for Berkley Bursey, the owner of Newfoundland Jam and Pickle Factory, who says he's profiting from the mustard pickle shortage.

Newfoundland Jam and Pickle Factory Inc. comes to the rescue after Sunday dinner staple is discontinued

Newfoundland Jam and Pickle Factory products, including a classic mustard pickle recipe, line the shelves at a Powell's Supermarket in Bay Roberts.

Business is booming for Berkley Bursey.

The owner of Newfoundland Jam and Pickle Factory says he's profiting from the pickle Smucker Foods of Canada put the province in the last week.

"Hectic is one word," he said. "People just keep phoning for that mustard pickle."

Smucker's, the owner of Zest and Habitant, said Friday both brands would no longer be producing mustard pickles.

Berkley Bursey owns Newfoundland Jam and Pickle Factory, which he operates out of Perry's Cove in Conception Bay North. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC)

This was tragic news for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, but it also has orders up — way up — for Bursey's product.

"I've got more [orders], I'd say about one and a half times as much, on my desk now as I had all last year," said Bursey.

Business booming

Newfoundland Jam and Pickle Factory has experienced a surge in business since Smucker Foods of Canada discontinued Zest and Habitant mustard pickles. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC)

Newfoundland Jam and Pickle Factory is based in Perry's Cove in the Conception Bay North area. The business was started in 1999, and Bursey said it has never been so busy.

"Right now we're looking at putting on a double shift," said Bursey "I'm hoping that within the next couple months there will be five more kitchens going up as well as a warehouse."

I've got more [orders] … on my desk now as I had all last year.- Berkley Bursey

The company currently produces homestyle beets and three varieties of pickles, and Bursey said there are no plans to discontinue mustard pickles.

"We're not going to let Newfoundlanders down."

Before Friday, jars were available in smaller grocery and convenience store chains, but Bursey said there are now larger distributors getting in touch.

There is currently just one bottle of Zest mustard pickles left at Powell's Supermarkets in Bay Roberts. You can win it through a contest on the grocery chain's Facebook page. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC)

"Phones have been ringing off the hook, everywhere from Kelowna, B.C., to  Halifax, Labrador City. Even down in Georgia," he said.

"It's been quite a ride for the last week."

'Response has just been crazy'

Powell's Supermarkets, which has locations in Bay Roberts, Carbonear and Harbour Grace, also decided to capitalize on the social media "fire storm" after the discontinuation of Zest and Habitant mustard pickles.

Mitch Colbourne, the chain's public relations and marketing co-ordinator, saved the company's last bottle of Zest mustard pickles for a Facebook contest.

"The idea was, comment on the photo about who you would like to share this last bottle with," he said.

"The response has just been crazy."

Mitch Colbourne of Powell’s Supermarkets holds the grocery chain's last bottle of Zest mustard pickles. There's a contest on social media to win that very bottle. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC)

The post has more than 800 comments and has been seen by at least 40,000 people. The winner will be drawn at random on March 12th.

Smucker Foods of Canada also owns the pickle company Bick's.

In a statement, the company said Bick's will be updating its sweet mustard pickle recipe to offer customers a comparable product. Those jars are expected to hit shelves in June.

With files from Jeremy Eaton

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