Food Artisans: Horman's Best Pickles

Food Artisans

A different New York artisan every week.

Nick Horman carrying on his family's pickle-selling traditions. [Photograph: Brian Burns]

Third-generation pickleman Nick Horman says that his family's business was "on the fringes" of his life until about eight years ago when he decided he wanted to try his hand at making the product himself. He started a smaller company, Horman's Best Pickles, for specialized pickles that would evoke New York's great pickle tradition. "I learned from the ground up," he says.

Today, he's producing at least 10 varieties, including Sweet Cajun Pickles, Horseradish Pickles, Brown Mustard Pickles, Pickled Tomatoes, and the Red Flannel Pickles named for the red peppers mixed in with the brine. He says that his favorite is probably the sours. "They have probiotics. I love that flavor, that traditional taste," he says, adding that the bread and butters are his favorite of the sweet pickles he sells.

While he uses a space in his family's 80,000 square foot facility on Long Island for production and storage and occasionally buys raw ingredients from them, he's emphatic about the fact that Horman's Best is a completely separate operation. "We're not competing," he says, pointing out that most of his business is done at farmers' markets. Horman's Best participates in about 20 markets a week, mostly on Long Island but also Manhattan's South Village and Morningside Park markets.

Overall, Horman is thrilled to be following in his father's and grandfather's footsteps. "It's fun," he says, "and it's a tradition that's dying a bit, though interest is growing, especially in the New York area." He adds that "there's nothing more exciting than making a product and people getting excited and having a connection with it. I'm glad to be a part of it."

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