Name of business: Green Vine Canning
Type of business: Pickled produce
Location: Turlock Certified Farmers Market, Turlock Flea Market, Riverbank Farmers Market and online at www.greenvinecanning.com
Contact information: firstname.lastname@example.org, @green_vine_canning on Instagram
Specialty: Spicy pickled vegetables made in small batches
History of business:
When Hilmar resident Wayne Norman was laid off during the Great Recession of 2008, he had no idea that the hobby of pickling vegetables grown in his garden would develop into a beloved business over a decade later.
In the years following his original layoff from the housing construction industry, Norman pickled and toyed with different recipes which last year became the staples of Green Vine Canning. When he found himself laid off yet again in 2019, the experience brought Norman back to those recipes and into a newfound journey of becoming a business owner, which has since led him to sell his spicy pickled mixes at both the Turlock Certified Farmers Market and the Turlock Flea Market, as well as the Riverbank Farmers Market and to online customers.
This month marks the one-year anniversary of Green Vine Canning, which has developed a loyal clientele over the last 12 months who can’t get enough of Norman’s pickled offerings: sauerkraut, carrot and pickle spears, cauliflower, pickle chips, green beans, garlic cloves and okra. Rather than growing his own produce as he was able to in the past, Norman sources the produce used in his pickle jars from local growers and businesses.
“I went from making 50 to 60 jars of pickles to really expanding to keep up with the pace for the markets,” Norman said. “The community’s support has been amazing.”
Pop-up shops hosted by Pageo Lavender Farm helped Norman get his start, while organizations like the Turlock Flea Market have been instrumental to his success as well. Norman utilizes the flea market’s kitchen twice per week to prepare and pickle his vegetables, he said, and it’s also where his products undergo state inspection.
These days, Norman makes anywhere from 100 to 250 jars of pickled vegetables in order to keep up with demand.
“I’ve been blown away by the reception Turlock has given me and how they enjoy my products,” he said. “Sometimes it’s even instant feedback — I’ve had customers open the jar right there and eat the entire thing before they leave the market, and then they come back and buy a new one.”
Norman believes it’s his recipe that has customers hooked, which utilizes serrano peppers and provides quite the kick. He hopes to open a brick-and-mortar storefront for Green Vine Canning one day and add to his product line in the future with home-brewed kombucha and fermented soda.
While keeping up with orders and demand — and fitting the vegetables into jars — is a lot of hard work, Norman said the feedback he’s received over the past year has been more than he ever expected.
“The only reason I do this is because I see the people who buy the product and how much they enjoy it. They tell me not to stop doing it, and that makes my heart just flutter,” he said. “I’m dumbfounded and it really does drive me to get in the kitchen and keep going, to play with new recipes and just have fun.”