Friday, November 18, 2011

Tillen Farms - Pickled Vegetables and Cherries

There amongst the vegan cheese and faux meat vendors at the Natural Products Expo East was a more traditional food -- pickled vegetables and cherries. Having been raised by a native German mother, I grew up eating pickled everything--from garlic and gherkins to sauerkraut--these foods were a staple of my diet. So, I stopped by the Tillen Farms booth to see what they were offering and met Tim Metzger himself.

Tim and Helen Metzger created Tillen Farms to continue a delicious tradition first begun by the Hogue family over forty years ago in the fertile, volcanic soil of the Yakima Valley of Washington State, which, by the way, I just visited. Careful tending, pampering, and patience, combined with unique all-natural processing has resulted in a delectable line of premium pickled items. Each vegetable is picked at the peak of its maturity, inspected, blanched, and packed to ensure freshness. The name "Tillen" comes from taking the first two letters from (Ti)m, two letters from daughter Ji(ll)'s name, and two letters from Hel(en). As you can see, this is a family affair.

Tim sent me this wonderful sampler package that included his Crispy Asparagus--regular and spicy, Crispy Carrots, Crispy Beans (spicy), Merry Marschino Cherries, and Bada Bing Cherries.

When I saw the box, the first thing I thought is what a great gift these would make. Rather than send everyone chocolate and fattening cookies, why not send low-fat pickled veggies?!  I cracked open the jar of pickled Crispy Beans and absolutely loved them from the first bite. I mean, I've never had pickled green beans before so I have no point of comparison, but these beans were good. They were crisp and the seasonings including the garlic, chili pepper, and dill were just right. I loved how spicy they were.

I felt similarly about all the veggies. They are all very crisp and seasoned just right. And, there are only 60 calories in each jar! These veggies are great for parties, as mixers in drinks, or just straight out of the jar.

I also tried the Bada Bing (love that name!) and Merry Maraschino cherries. The Bada Bing cherries are extra large Bordeaux cherries with a richer, stronger taste than the maraschino cherries. The maraschino cherries were the size of your typical cocktail cherry, but without the typical chemicals, preservatives, or artificial colors (including red dye #40) that most maraschino cherries are made with. You can see how different they are below.

Maraschino cherries on left and Bada Bing on right

These cherries are colored only with vegetable and fruit concentrates so they are a real treat for those looking to exclude artificial colors and flavors from their diet!

Ice Cream Sundae with Bada Bing cherries
Tillen Farms has even been kind enough to offer my readers a special discount of 25% off online orders. One per customer, please. If you are interested in trying them for yourself or sending them as a gift, just click here and enter the code of TILV25 when you checkout. Hurry - this code expires on December 31, 2011! Enjoy!

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