Britt Eustis’ life has always been closely linked to pickled products: He moved to Seattle from Connecticut in the 1980s, and worked first at Charlie’s Produce and then at a food distribution company that took him all the way to Japan. There, he helped import miso, kimchi from Korea and other traditional fermented foods. But in 2010, Eustis moved back into his sister and brother-in-law’s home in Rainier Beach and quickly laid claim to the basement, where he experimented with a type of fermentation that excludes vinegar, and produces lactic acid and CO2. (This process flavors the pickle and creates a snack that’s easier to digest and more nutritious than those preserved in jars on grocery store shelves, according to Eustis.) Dill, coriander, mustard seed and peppercorns were also added for an extra dose of spice, and thus Britt’s Pickles preserved its first batch of zippy pickles.
After testing his products on some friends, Eustis made a go of it online and then opened a retail shop at Pike Place Market in September. The store currently carries five flavors of fermented cucumbers, including regular, spicy and half-sour. Eventually, he plans to expand his selection to include Meyer lemons, sauerkraut and more.