Business

"Mt. Olive Pickles is a big dill"

Details on the "big dill".

The town of Mount Olive has been in a pickle for 91 years.

Its eponymous pickle plant is privately owned, but out of 464 shareholders, more than half are employees or descendants of the townsfolk who rescued it in 1926. In a town of 4,500, Mount Olive is Mt. Olive Pickle Co. . . . 

Mt. Olive, which declines to share financial information, finds itself as a market leader in a growing industry. Pickle sales climbed 1.3% in 2015 to $1.1 billion, part of an overall trend toward fermented foods, which are believed to offer health benefits. . . .

Machines slice the cucumbers, but pickle spears and the long, flat sandwich stuffers are still packed by hand, a ballet of motion as runners keep packers supplied with cucumbers they quickly flip, peelside facing in for the best presentation, and slide into glass jars. Packers are rewarded for speed — the fastest can earn up to $20 an hour — though Mt. Olive says its average hourly wage for all workers is $16.12.