The Happy Pickler story began not so much in happiness, but instead with a crisis. When founder Betsy Warner’s wife, Kathleen, was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer in 2011, Betsy was determined to do everything she could to improve her family’s health, beginning with their diet. In countless articles, over countless internet searches, “fermented food” kept showing up.
“I like pickles,” Betsy thought, and the adventure began. Soon every available surface in the kitchen and in the refrigerator—at home and in the small business she ran—looked like a cross between a science experiment and a chef’s dream. Every thinkable vegetable ended up in a quart-sized mason jar, with some results more "creative" than others. The couple’s kids—used as tasters or, as they sometimes saw it, guinea pigs—will be the first to say it was a rocky road. But soon they, too, started loving fermented foods.
Over time, methods and recipes were ironed out. Betsy was hooked, and was having a lot of fun. In 2017, she decided that she was passionate enough about this to spread the love of fermented foods and gut health to a wider audience. When sheepishly approaching Kathleen to suggest the idea of starting a business, she was met with a resounding "YES!" In the spring of 2018, Happy Pickler LLC was registered with the State of Ohio.
It wasn’t a smooth beginning. Six weeks after the official founding of the business, Kathleen was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, and she died in October of 2018. She was the most joyful human we in the Happy Pickler family have ever known, and we feel it is our mission to carry on that joy and love in everything we do. We want to help people get healthier, one gut at a time, guided by Kathleen’s love of life, love of good food, and her ability to spread her love and kindness to everyone who was lucky enough to know her. In her honor, we continue to make delicious, probiotic, health-packed foods. Our goal is to share the love of life and fermented foods, whether through our products, our workshops in the community, or by simply looking at life with a fresh lens each day.
So in the spring of 2020, in the middle of a global pandemic, and city- and nation-wide protests against systemic racism, we sold our first product at the North Union Farmers Market at Shaker Square. We’ve been humbled by the enthusiastic response we’ve received. It turns out our community here not only loves to support small, local businesses—it also loves our products!
And we love what we do! Life on this beautiful planet is short and messy and challenging and delightful and full of surprises. We love being on the ride. And we love being part of the Real Food revolution. Thank you for joining us on this adventure.
Peace and love,
Betsy and the Happy Pickler Family