For Proper's Pickle founders, siblings and business partners Pejmon Noori and Bijan Noori, delicious homemade pickles were the standard growing up, so much so that they couldn’t even enter their parent’s house without the pungent smell of vinegar wafting out the front door.
“Our dad was always pickling any kind of veggie he could find, making different recipes with them,” Pejmon says. “It comes from the culture he was raised, in which is Iranian, so we had a taste for pickles from the get go.”
Once they moved out of the house, the brothers continued the family tradition of pickling vegetables (called torshi in Farsi), often giving away excess jars as gifts and Christmas presents. Requests kept coming in and eventually it got to the point where their friends urged them to start selling the pickles and make a business out of it. Bijan happened to know the manager of a local farmers market in Long Beach at the time, so they decided to give it a try and get a stall.
“We wanted to see if our friends were just being nice and saying nice things to us or if people actually liked them,” Pejmon tells the Weekly. “We sold every jar we took to the market that day. The following week, we sold out again.”
Established in 2014, Proper’s Pickle out of Long Beach has quickly gained a reputation for making some of the freshest and most flavorful pickled vegetables to the stores and farmers markets of Orange County. Instead of using standard cucumbers, they prefer the Persian variety, which they say plays a major role in the crunch and bold flavor of their end product. Every vegetable they pickle includes fresh dill and cloves of garlic steeped in a simple brine of water, vinegar and salt. Each jar is then labeled by hand, often by their mother—making for some great family time, according to the brothers. Currently, they offer traditional cucumber slices and spears, green beans, cauliflower, serrano peppers, and a new spicy habanero version of their sliced cucumber that isn’t overpowering, yet creeps up on you if you’re not careful.
“We are very picky with the vegetables we purchase,” Bijan says. “We just want everything to be as fresh as possible.”
Since that first farmers market, the brothers have expanded to markets in Huntington Beach, Anaheim, Irvine and Orange, where you can find either Pejmon or Bijan manning the booth and handing out samples at least five times per week. They both attribute their success to the quality of the ingredients they work with and their direct connection with customers.
Outside of farmers markets, their products are available in a variety of retail locations around Southern California like MADE in Long Beach and every Gelson’s Market. Bristol Farms will also be stocking their pickles very soon.
“The positive reinforcement from the community really helps keep us motivated when the struggles of being a small business owner start to get to you,” Pejmon says.
“You sometimes feel like this is way too much work or this is too hard or I don’t know if we are going to make it,” Pejmon concluded, “but then you get these customers that swear by our pickles and look forward to having them every week. It’s such a rewarding feeling knowing that there are people out there that want us to stick around.”