If you are looking to spice up your appetizer trays, or add a little extra something to your evening cocktails, then the local business of has something to offer.
Maple Valley resident Jim McCaslin has been producing pickled delicacies since 2003, but his connection to these delights goes further back in history.
In 1990, a friend of McCaslin’s and hospitality professional Leo McIntyre, started the business of pickling onions for martinis. McIntyre went to work with a food chemist to find the perfect recipe for the perfect pickled onion.
Seattle-area bars served the cocktail onions and soon McSweet onions were in demand by visiting bar goers. The cocktail onions were constantly on mail order for those who were visiting from New York, California, and other places.
Soon, Larry’s Markets picked up the line and McSweet was on the grid.
“It is kind of an art really,” said Jim McCaslin, now owner of McSweet Pickled Gourmet, “getting the same result every time is challenging.”
In 1999, McCaslin was asked by McIntyre to set up a website for the business. During that time, McCaslin had his own video production business, but he was up for the challenge. In 2003, McCaslin took over McSweet and since then he has added a few new products.
“Pickled Garlic was the second item added to the list in 2005,” Jim McCaslin said, “it is very mild compared to others.”
Another popular item is the pickled olives.
“Our olives actually won a top recipe award in a Seattle Magazine in March 2006,” McCaslin said. “Our pickled olives consist of five types of olives, all grown in France. They are shipped here in refrigerated bins and they have an herbal oil marinade.”
McSweet’s pickled onions are the overall top product. These cocktail onions have a sweet taste that would go perfect in vodka martini. For the local farmers markets, pickled asparagus does very well, and it’s not hard to see why.
Unlike many pickled products, McSweet’s products do not knock out taste buds with a sour vinegar taste. The pickled asparagus will surprise the mouth with a mild, sweet flavor that will cause the glands to salivate, leading to a desire for more.
If you missed this weekend’s farmers market in Maple Valley
McCaslin said, “I am at five farmers markets a week.” McSweet products can be found at farmers markets throughout the week and you can also visit the McSweet website, www.mcsweet.com, where you can see information about the different products, history, recipes and ordering information.
“I am passionate about pickling, items and my business. I also love meeting new people at the markets, so come out and visit at the Maple Valley Market,” said McCaslin.