Miss. Delta Spawns Kool-Aid Pickles

Retailers offering regional gastronomic oddity

Published in CSP Daily News

GREENVILLE, Miss. -- In the Mississippi Delta, where they fetch between 50 cents and a dollar, Kool-Aid picklespickles marinated in cherry, tropical fruit punch or strawberry-flavored Kool-Aidhave earned valued space next to such beloved snacks as pickled eggs and pigs' feet at community fairs, convenience stores and gas stations, according to The New York Times.

The pickles have been spotted as far afield as Dallas and St. Louis, but their cult is thickest in the Delta region, the report said. And as their appeal has widened, some people have seen a [image-nocss] good business opportunity. Children are the primary consumers, but a recent trip through the region revealed that the market for Kool-Aid pickles is maturing, added the report.

Nobody knows just who first decided that pickles would be improved by a bath in sugared drink mix, or when, but the invention seems to be of fairly recent provenance.

No patent application has been filed, but the name Kool-Aid is a trademark owned by Kraft Foods. Upon learning of the pickles, Bridget MacConnell, a senior manager of corporate affairs at Kraft, told the newspaper, We endorse our consumers' finding innovative ways to use our products.

Many fans buy their Kool-Aid pickles from unlicensed house stores, operated by neighborhood elders who, seated at their kitchen tables, sell snacks and chips and candy to anyone who comes knocking. But some area retailers are beginning to offer them.

At the Stephensville (Miss.) Mini-Mart, the owner, Hugh Davis, began stocking Kool-Aid pickles earlier this year at the request of local children. They're not for me, Davis told the paper. It's the kids who've done it. They'll create a line of food for you; they'll dab a little something here and there and make it their own. They're good at inventing.

Recently, some Delta grocers began selling jars of ready-made pickles. And entrepreneurs are emerging. At Lambard's Wholesale Meats in Cleveland, Miss., Allen Williams sells plastic gallon jugs of Best Maid dills, plastered with the Kool-Aid packs that denote the flavor within. At Eastend Grocery, also in Cleveland, Beverly and Claud Boddie stand behind their products. They have honed proprietary recipes for green and red flavors that involve piercing the pickles with a fork and stirring together multiple Kool-Aid flavors to achieve maximum pucker. Boddie wants to apply for a trademark as soon as I can raise some money and settle on a name, she told the Times.

Double Quick, the Indianola, Miss.-based chain of more than 30 Delta c-storesfamous in some circles for a singing group, the Double Quick Gospel Choir, composed of store managers and supervisorshas begun pursuing a trademark for Koolickle, a name coined by Rick Beuning, its director of foodservice. I'mfrom the Midwest, Beuning told the paper. This isn't my food, but I know a good product when I see one.