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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Followup on Steinfeld's

We blogged about Steinfeld's pickles a while back, and through the miracle of Google, this morning we heard from a member of the founding family of the company that produces them. She writes:

Hey there! Curiosity had me Google Steinfeld's to see what was out there. Indeed they are made in India now, sadly. I'm sitting here eating a jar and the flavor I grew up on just isn't there, how disappointing. I just wanted to comment on why, someone had posted they thought they were made in Scappoose.

Indeed, they used to be but our family sold the company in 1999 after the death of my grandfather, Ray Steinfeld. We originally sold to Dean Foods and the label is now owned by Bay Valley (that is semi-recent; I honestly didn't keep up with it and have no idea when that transaction took place).

The pickles used to be made in a facility in Portland, which we leased to Dean Food's for several years; after a time they moved production to a different part of the country. The sauerkraut used to be made in Scappoose, we also used to host the Sauerkraut Festival out there yearly. When we sold the company, we stopped hosting. In the last few years, as part of the deal, the factory was sold off and bulldozed. What a shame! I wish they would have kept it, but I'm just a grandkid ;).

Our grandmother still lives in Scappoose and is active in her local community; we also are starting a scholarship fund for Scappoose high schoolers this coming year (I believe).

Anyways, since someone asked I'd thought I'd let you know!

Comments (6)

Wow! Great update! I knew that Steinfeld had died and that he was a big supporter of the community. Thanks for the background. I remember that their sauerkraut used to be made in Sappoose because I went by the plant there on a few occasions.

According to the Bay Valley website, the change from Dean Foods to Bay Valley took place in 2005:

"In 2005, Dean Specialty Foods Group, LLC was spun off from Dean Foods and became Bay Valley Foods, a division of TreeHouse Foods, Inc. TreeHouse, now an independent and publicly traded company, is led by Sam Reed and a team of seasoned food executives who were largely responsible for the tremendous growth at Keebler in the 90s. Foodservice and Private Label growth drove much of the Keebler success and play a key role in the strategic growth plans for TreeHouse and the new Bay Valley Foods. While the company name has changed several times throughout the years, our commitment to excellence has stayed the same."

Pretty much the same deal with Nalley's... the Nalley brand of pickle ("Great Taste of the Northwest!" but made in India) is owned by Bay Foods, but the Nally's Chili brand (identical logo) is owned by Birds Eye. I'm assuming the Tigard facility is long gone...

It's amazing that just a name can carry value and loyalty. I see old folks all the time reach for Steinfelds, probably unaware they're just buying generic crap wrapped in a familar label. I guess that's what Bay Foods and Birds Eye are banking on.

Want a new, local pickle to throw your loyalty behind? You should really give these guys a shot... http://www.therealdillpickle.com/

Scappoose sounds like a good place for a pickle factory.

Ok then, how about across the river?

This is so sad to me. My grandparents were close friends of Vic and Ruby Steinfeld and we grew up eating only their pickles. I feel like a piece of my childhood has died.

A reader writes:

Your mention of Steinfeld's pickles brought back some memories. I went to Grant High School and OSU with Rick Steinfeld. The last I heard about Rick was from one of our class reunions. In the reunion booklet he says he is the VP of Steinfeld Products and is on the Board of Directors of Northwest Food Processors, Research Committee of Pickle Packers. If I'm not mistaken, I think he ended up as President of the company before it was sold.

While we were not particularly close friends in school, we did both work at the OSU bowling lanes during our college years. My job was to clean the lanes after it closed. I worked alone from midnight until 2:00am. One night, Rick hid inside and waited until I was busy oiling the lanes. He had thrown all the bowling balls down the lanes, but turned off all the machines so that the balls had not been returned. Then when I wasn't expecting anything, he turned on the lane machines and all the balls started coming back at once. It scared the tar out of me!

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