Small producer case study: gourmet pickled walnuts (Part 2)

Small landholders, Andrew and Bettina Pretsel, are giving pickled walnuts a new lease of life and turning a small niche product into a hit with gourmet food customers.

 

Selling the product
There is currently a small niche market for pickled walnuts as they are a largely unknown product. They have a long shelf life which is an advantage when building new markets.

“Educating consumers to something completely new is always a slow process, so we’re not expecting any enormous demand in the short term!” Bettina said.

The Pretsel’s first product release saw the walnuts sold in 260g jars in traditional malt vinegar pickle that goes well with ales and lagers. Those were followed by an apple cider vinegar and then a white wine vinegar pickle. 

To encourage first-time customers to buy a jar of an unknown product, small sample packs of sliced pickled walnuts were added to the range. These packs have proved popular with liquor stores and as handy snacks for travellers.

The bulk pack followed, which for safety and ease of postal delivery is a non-glass, resealable container, suitable for chefs, restaurants and gourmet stores.

“The biggest challenge is finding the right place to sell the pickled walnuts. There are definitely people out there who want to buy them, but because it is a special type of item, you need to find which places to approach."

"We have found family owned retailers have really embraced the product and enjoy having something unique and special to offer their customers. We’re also getting them into restaurants now. We’re hoping consumers will see them on the menu and try them, and then go looking to buy them. It is very similar to selling wine, in that we need to do tastings.”

The pickled walnuts are also available online and the number of retail outlets continues to grow.

The Pretsels have also found that farmers’ markets provide potential leads and are the perfect opportunity to promote products to local and interstate travellers who often attend these markets.

“We always keep something different or special to sell at the markets where we have time to talk to customers about our products.”

Using the product
Recipes are gradually being added to the Pretsel’s website along with new taste sensations available in limited quantities from their online shop.


“The biggest challenge is finding the right place to sell the pickled walnuts."

“Pickled walnuts add to the flavour of other foods without dominating. They can be used as an ingredient in dishes such as meatballs or stews or they can be served with foods containing fat and/or protein, for example roasted cuts of meat or seafood. The best thing of all that goes with pickled walnuts would have to be pork belly,” said Bettina.

They are an excellent addition to cheese platters, combining well with feta cheeses, pears, apples and fresh walnuts.

Costs and time frame
To start from scratch, Bettina estimates there is a long lead time before trees can produce commercial quantities. Even with a copious supply of nuts at their disposal it still took the Pretsels three or four years of research, experimentation and marketing trials to develop and perfect the product.

Apart from the land and trees, other capital costs to consider include a commercial kitchen, a suitable vehicle for transporting produce and the usual running costs associated with a small business.

Lessons learnt
Along the way the Pretsel’s have learnt some valuable lessons:

do the research

allow yourself time to adjust to learnings

make decisions carefully

make time for your business

learn as much as you can before you start – understand each process and step in the production chain

don’t be afraid to experiment – try something new (but try to do it using disposable income).

Forgotten food
Forgotten foods are part of a food education movement that is currently developing around the world.

There is a return to customers wanting to be in touch with where their products come from, particularly where food is concerned. As a result, there may be scope and opportunity to reinvent other food that has gone ‘out of fashion’ or been long ‘forgotten’ to fill niche markets.

The future
Bettina and Andrew are looking to expand their pickled walnut business with plans for a commercial kitchen to develop new products.

They are also on the lookout for new recipes to add to their website, with the aim of eventually creating a recipe and history book for publication.

Thanks to our friends at DAFWA for use of the article.

News Category

New Forum Topics

Topic Replies Last post Forum
5472 pto seeder
by summit1966 on Sat, 02/16/2019 - 15:55
4
by Albertgotdonkey
Wed, 03/20/2019 - 11:56
Farming Help
3169 Best way to graze paddocks?
by cletus on Tue, 02/28/2017 - 10:39
5
by Marvingirty
Tue, 03/19/2019 - 23:54
Farming Help
5363 Olive trees
by lazzaman on Sat, 12/22/2018 - 19:39
8
by db51
Tue, 03/19/2019 - 17:30
General Forum
5484 abattoir options
by summit1966 on Sun, 03/17/2019 - 22:43
0
by summit1966
Sun, 03/17/2019 - 22:43
Butcher meat
5476 Slashing native grasses for horses?
by skye on Tue, 03/05/2019 - 17:39
1
by greggy
Sat, 03/09/2019 - 18:30
Farming Help
5453 Pasture Improvement Costs
by @Nick on Mon, 01/14/2019 - 19:44
2
by skye
Tue, 03/05/2019 - 17:34
Farming Help
5473 Acreage with a tree plantation
by Dan13L on Mon, 02/18/2019 - 01:43
1
by admin
Tue, 02/26/2019 - 16:30
General Forum
5474 Olive saplings in victoria
by nizfer2019 on Mon, 02/18/2019 - 04:15
1
by admin
Mon, 02/25/2019 - 15:25
Farming Help
5469 Raising cattle for profit
by karinya2018 on Tue, 02/12/2019 - 22:26
1
by admin
Thu, 02/14/2019 - 15:45
Cattle
5456 How can I make money from my hobby farm?
by anasttin on Fri, 01/25/2019 - 11:06
1
by rookie_farmer
Wed, 02/13/2019 - 20:55
Farm planning
5467 Baby Minature /Pygmy Goats
by [email protected] on Tue, 02/05/2019 - 16:07
1
by barb
Wed, 02/06/2019 - 15:44
Goats
5466 How to Become Classified as A Primary Producer/Alpacas
by Char on Fri, 02/01/2019 - 11:04
1
by admin
Mon, 02/04/2019 - 15:03
Farm planning
1937 How much farm land to make a profit
by Teesh on Mon, 04/28/2014 - 22:14
4
by greggy
Mon, 01/28/2019 - 19:11
Farming Help
3192 When can weaned calves go back with the herd
by bigdave06 on Mon, 04/03/2017 - 19:55
4
by WendyW
Mon, 01/28/2019 - 14:34
General Forum
5347 Tractor Attachment Brands
by reeeen4 on Tue, 12/04/2018 - 13:54
3
by greggy
Sun, 01/27/2019 - 03:04
Farming Help
3319 Raising cattle for meat, how many per acre
by stevo7 on Mon, 01/29/2018 - 10:25
4
by greggy
Sun, 01/27/2019 - 02:57
Farming Help
5455 Turn qld acerage into commercial farm
by fazeraus on Fri, 01/18/2019 - 19:10
1
by admin
Wed, 01/23/2019 - 13:18
Farm planning
5349 Tractors
by Blackmount73 on Wed, 12/12/2018 - 21:27
2
by James F
Wed, 01/09/2019 - 19:27
Machinery & products
5451 17 year old with a strong passion for agriculture
by James F on Wed, 01/09/2019 - 19:21
0
by James F
Wed, 01/09/2019 - 19:21
New Members
5370 How to Package
by Barpajack on Thu, 01/03/2019 - 12:51
1
by admin
Tue, 01/08/2019 - 10:23
Farm planning

Our Sponsors

Our Partners