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Pick A Peck Of Pickles - And Save A Historic House
By Anne-Marie Smolski/ Townsman Staff
Thursday, March 16, 2006

Every bottle or jar of Root Cellar Preserves maple syrup, corn relish or pickles packs a promise. Fifty percent of the profits will go into a fund that co-founders Lorne and Susan Jones have earmarked for the preservation of early American homesteads.

Having launched their business in January 2006, the Wellesley residents have their product in stores in Dover, Natick and Wellesley. And, they've already identified a preservation project: the Draper House in Dover. The town is looking to raise funds to move its oldest house to the town common. Root Cellar Preserves has jumped on board, and will donate half of all the proceeds earned from sales in stores in Dover toward the community's preservation efforts.

In addition to preserving early American homesteads, the couple wants to offer a variety of products that were once commonplace, but now hard to find.

  

"We started doing it at home and quickly realized it's not cost-effective, and it was too labor-intensive," Susan said about their pickling enterprise. The couple develops the recipes for their pickles and relish and then has them made for them. Their Sweet and Spicy Pickles and Apple Cinnamon Pickles are made for distribution by Root Cellar Preserves by a small out-of-state pickler. A family-run farm in Saratoga, N.Y., makes their corn relish, and their maple syrup is from a family-run farm in Vermont.

 

At home, the couple does all the printing, labeling and marketing. As time goes on, they'll probably be farming some of that out.
"He has his strengths, and I have my strengths, and it works well together," Susan said. "We have such complementary skills," added Lorne,

Lorne and Susan Jones (Photo by Mark Thomson)

who by day is a marketing executive for Oracle. Susan, a stay-at-home mom to daughters Isabel, 7 1/2, and Eleanor, 3, has a background in nursing and marketing. "She's the salesperson," Lorne said about his wife.

She goes into a store with her product, leaves a sample, and "in most cases, they really liked the product," Susan said. She's done tastings at various local stores and will be doing more.

Both from upstate New York, Susan's and Lorne's mothers always pickled fresh produce. The couple love to go to Haymarket to pick up things to can for their own home. "You pickle and can whatever you have extra," according to Susan. It's always been a way of life for her. She said that lately, they've been making a great cranberry chutney.
 

Together, they've put a modern spin on traditional recipes. They've jazzed up pickles, for example, giving their Sweet and Spicy ones a touch of heat. Look for dill pickles down the road.

 

In addition to being excited about their product line, the Joneses are focusing on supporting the small suppliers, they said. "That's a priority, to be able to source from the small guys," Lorne noted.

"We also want to support local businesses," said Susan.

 In addition to that, Lorne said that "the pickles are great, and it's all for a good cause": trying to raise awareness for the preservation of their American heritage.

 "We can tell our kids that Mommy and Daddy contributed to saving that building," when they see one that Root Cellar Preserves has helped, Susan said.

Root Cellar Preserves' products can be found in Wellesley at Fells Market, 326 Weston Road and at John Dewar and Company, 277 Linden St.; in Dover at Dover Market, 14 Springvale Ave., and at Isabella's Groceria, 60 Center St.; in South Natick at Lookout Farm, 89 Pleasant St.

    For more information visit www.rootcellarpreserves.com