Mt. Olive Pickle Company (North Carolina State) : The largest independent pickle company in the United States


( ) The Mount Olive Pickle Company is an American food processing company located in Mount Olive, North Carolina.

The company's primary product is pickled cucumbers, but it is also a large supplier of pepper, mixed pickle, relish, and other pickled products. Mt. Olive is the largest independent pickle company in the United States and top-selling pickle brand in the Southeastern United States, where its market share approaches 70 percent.

Facilities are all located in Mt. Olive on 110 acres (45 ha) with 800,000 square feet (74,000 m2) of production, office, and warehouse space. The company has in excess of 1,200 brining vats and can store over 40,000,000 pounds (18,000,000 kg) of cucumbers. The company employs over 500 people which swells to over 800 during the busiest intake season each summer. In 1943, the company was one of the first in the country to offer profit sharing plans to their employees. In 1959, Mt. Olive established an employee community fund that helped support local community organizations.

In the mid-1920s, Shikrey Baddour, a Lebanese immigrant from nearby Goldsboro, first saw opportunity in the wasted cucumber crops of area farmers. Baddour came up with the idea of buying the cucumbers, putting them in a brining tank, and selling the brined cucumbers, or brine stock, to other pickle firms. Baddour enlisted the aid of George Moore, a sailor from Wilmington who had worked in a Castle Hayne pickle plant. The plan didn't work the way they had envisioned, however: they had no buyers for their product. By January 1926, a new plan was put into place through the efforts of a group of Mount Olive business people,led by Headley Morris Cox, who formally established the Mt. Olive Pickle Company, Inc. to pack and sell its own pickles. Thirty-seven original shareholders put forward $19,000 in capital to get the company started in what all viewed as a "community proposition." Many of today's stockholders are grandchildren and great grandchildren of the charter stockholders. The board of directors hired H.M. Cox as President, Moore as factory superintendent and Baddour as salesman and gave them each shares of stock for their initial investments. The board also purchased 1-acre (4,000 m2) of land from farmer J.A. Westbrook for $1,000. The land is part of the current manufacturing site today. Westbrook's home still stands across from the plant. Mt. Olive surpassed $500,000 in sales in 1942. The company initiated a profit-sharing plan in 1943 and by 1947 its sales reached more than $1 million a year.

In 1973, Mt. Olive food scientists, working in cooperation with researchers from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), discovered one of the secrets of fermentation. The Mt. Olive and USDA researchers discovered that the bacteria L. plantarum was key to the fermentation process, and that purging carbon dioxide from brine with nitrogen led to minimal rot and waste. In 1986, Mt. Olive Pickle co-founded the North Carolina Pickle Festival. In 2005, the Mt. Olive plant had expanded to take up more than 970,000 square feet (90,000 m2) of production space covering 110 acres (0.4 km2). In 2008, the company introduced the first single-pack pickles. The intended markets are workers and schoolchildren.

According to wikipedia

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