The story of Paisley Farm Inc. began in 1945 when a pilot, J.W. Paisley, who had just completed active duty during World War II, returned home to Ohio, intent on using his new found leadership skills to start his own business. After a very successful first year of growing and selling tomatoes to local grocery stores and markets, Paisley ran up against a cold Ohio winter in which business slowed to a halt. Paisley’s solution the next summer was that, in addition to growing and selling tomatoes, he would prepare pickled vegetables in canning jars to sell in the off-season. That year in the winter months, Paisley’s business took off, encouraging him to focus entirely on canned vegetables.
From that point on, he stopped growing vegetables and purchased them from local farmers. Paisley’s first big hit was “Pickled Green Tomatoes” and he quickly expanded his offerings to include Dilled Brussels Sprouts, Dilled Onion Rings, and Sweet Cauliflower. In the 1950’s, a Vodka company did a promotion using Dilled Brussels Sprouts as a vodka martini garnish causing a considerable spike in business.
A Transition To Larger Manufacturing Operations
In the 1960’s, Paisley, who had a love for high technology, hired a young college graduate named Ken Anderson, who had a hand in his boss’s purchase of an IBM System 32 computer for $36,000. The computer featured a 2 MB disk and allowed the company to begin data processing so they could manage raw materials, receivables, expenses and sales, as well as project the company’s future. Paisley worked until the late 1980’s when he retired. During the last year of Paisley’s involvement in the business, Anderson ran the daily business and managed 25 employees, giving him the experience he needed to take over the business when the opportunity came.
Over the decades, Paisley Farm Inc. has grown to become a provider to the food service industry and warehouse clubs including Costco, Sam’s Club and BJ’s requiring the need for, in some cases, 64 ounce jars and a much heavier production schedule. The company also produces private label items for Cracker Barrel restaurants and even ships products to Costco in Japan. Demand has continued to expand and has required a change in manufacturing.
Automating Manufacturing While Protecting Delicate Product
Until the 1980s, Paisley Farm, Inc. workers hand-packed vegetables into jars as they had done since the company’s founding. But hand packing was not keeping up with demand. Anderson turned to existing technology and evaluated a number of tumbling and filling machines, for example, the Solburn Filler. However, nothing came close to the quality achieved with human hands. Tumble fillers are a bit like the inside of a clothes dryer: the product, for example, pickles, is carried up and falls into jars running on a conveyor belt through the center of the tumbler. Anderson found that this process bruised and damaged the vegetables, pulling apart beans and detaching leafs of Brussels Sprouts and product appearance and appetite appeal is critical to Paisley Farms.
So, Anderson and his brother Don realized they needed a new process that would fill jars gently, protecting the vegetables. The two have developed a one-of-a-kind piece of filling equipment. The entire manufacturing process is now unique and customized to the company’s specific needs. The only non-custom machine is the capper.
According to Anderson, “Paisley’s artisan pickled vegetables are thoughtfully created and curated in brines and seasonings developed over decades.” Paisley Farm, Inc. remains committed to developing and producing the highest quality products using unique vegetable and seasoning combinations.
“If you have a love of vegetables, you can’t find more unique ones than at Paisley Farm and you probably won’t find a better Hot Brussels Sprout, Sweet Pepper & Apple Relish, Zesty Mushroom or Four Bean Salad than we make here,” says Anderson.
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