Tour of MeadowCroft Farm on National Pickle Day

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Start celebrating – Thursday is National Pickle Day and the Shenandoah Valley is home to a big-time pickling operation.

MeadowCroft Farm of Swoope makes dozens of types of pickles and distributes them all over the world through trade shows and online sales.

"Dill pickles, asparagus, pickled garlic, kraut stuffed banana peppers, dilly beans, pickled okra,” said Judie Croft, MeadowCroft Farm co-owner.

When Croft's seven children grew up and moved out of the house in the '90s, she decided to turn an old family tradition into a business.

"People ask 'How long have you been making this?' And it's like, when have I not been making it? So I've been a pickleholic all my life,” said Croft.

From sweet salsas to relishes, Croft and others on the farm enjoy sharing their craft with people in the community and strangers from far and wide. The most common ingredients used are cucumbers, zucchini, green tomatoes and peppers.

"You split the cucumber into spears. And we like using the spears because you get more in your jar than you do with slices,” said Croft.

But Croft says it's not just about pickles. 

"My grandmother said when I would say something about having a stomachache, because I didn't want to go to school, she would say, 'Eat a pickle.' That would take care of it."

It also feeds nostalgia. 

"They'll come to the table when we're having our samples. And they will pick up a spiced peach pickle for instance. And they'll say 'This tastes exactly like what my grandmother, or my Aunt so-and-so used to make. And they'll have tears in their eyes because it brings back all of those good memories,” said Croft.

With the holidays coming up, the farm will be hosting its annual open house with free samples and all kinds of activities in December.

MeadowCroft Farm will hold an open house December 7, 8, 14, and 15 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m at 404 Glebe School Road in Swoope.

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