Name: Kelly McVicker
Home: San Francisco, California
Makerspace: McVicker Pickles
Dream Project: Traveling and pickling with grandmas around the world—and writing about it!
Kelly McVicker is the owner of McVicker Pickles. After spending several years raising money for women’s rights, she returned to her 4-H roots and jumped headfirst into the cutthroat world of small-batch pickling. She’s a fiend for farmers markets and goes bonkers for a good brine.
Going from professional fundraiser to professional pickler might seem like a strange career transition, but in essence it’s a pretty classic story. I think many of us who find ourselves in office-based, sedentary lifestyles feel this real urge to make something with our hands and see a product at the end of the day that we can look at and be like, ‘Yes, I made that.’ I just felt like I needed to get back to that and that led me back to the whole food preservation world.
I have always gravitated towards making multiples, as opposed to masterpieces. Before I launched McVicker Pickles, I had a small screenprinting studio called Deadbeatsister. In a lot of ways, pickling and printing are very similar: you’re making these editions of the same thing, all of which have subtle differences. Both are process-based, and both require you to have a system that allows you to work quickly. And both offer the satisfaction of tangible results at the end of a day.
Pickling, as with all food preservation that requires canning, is inherently communal. Of course it can be done alone, but it’s so much easier and more fun when you get a crew together to make an assembly line—someone chops the veggies, someone adds the spices, someone fills the brine. I love teaching those steps and seeing how they bring people together.
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