Sechler’s Pickles is one of northeast Indiana’s lesser-known gems, and if you happen to enjoy flavorful pickles, relish and salsa, you’ll definitely want to make this part of your visit to Fort Wayne.
The pickle factory, located in the quaint town of St. Joe, is about a 45-minute drive from the heart of downtown Fort Wayne. (You’ll enjoy Indiana’s scenic countryside along the way.) Factory tours are available to those who wish to get an up-close look at the pickle-making process.
A Stop at Sechler's Pickles in Northeast Indiana
The first thing you’ll notice when you get out of your car is the distinct smell of pickles! Then, as you make your way inside, you’ll find yourself in a cozy shop that is chock-full of jarred pickles and pickle-themed gifts (we saw everything from T-shirts to pickle band-aids!).
A friendly tour guide will then take you through the factory, where you’ll get to observe nearly every aspect of the production process. As you walk through the plant, you’ll learn that farmers in northern Indiana, northwest Ohio and southern Michigan supply Sechler's with freshly-picked cucumbers straight from their fields.
Workers sort the cucumbers into two groups. Some sit in a salt brine solution, where they cure for three months or more. These eventually become many different varieties of processed pickles. Others, however, are cut, packed and pasteurized right away (these are known as "fresh pack” pickles).
Tours are available from April through October. They are done Monday through Thursday, from 9 to 11 a.m. and 12:30 to 3 p.m - starting every 30 minutes.
Parties of five or less do not need to make a reservation, while groups of six or more should call a week ahead to arrange a tour. Contact Sechler’s Pickles at (800) 332-5461 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you're visiting during the summer, mark your calendars for the three-day St. Joe Pickle Festival for all things pickles. Enjoy pickle-flavored ice cream, fried pickles pickle activities, and more.
This post was originally published in September 2011 and has been updated.