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In-demand pickle maker revs up production with SBA business loan

March 6, 2019 | Small Business Loans
In-demand pickle maker revs up production with SBA business loan, CDC Small Business

What do you get when you mix a treasured family recipe, a chance encounter with a journalist, drive to succeed and well-timed small-business financing?

You get Farv’s Pickles, the culinary creation from abstract painter-turned-entrepreneur Jarod Farver. We’re talking about delicious, all-natural pickled vegetables, from traditional dill to more unorthodox varieties of green bean and asparagus. You know it’s gotta be good because his briny concoctions are traced back to Grandma’s recipe.

What started as a home-based pickling operation is now a growing enterprise whose products are featured in more than 40 stores in California and Arizona including Jimbo’s and Williams Sonoma.

Here’s how an opportune SBA business loan through community lender and nonprofit CDC Small Business Finance helped Farver during a crucial time in what Farver calls his newfound “pickle career.”

Basis for Farv’s: Grandma’s recipe

In-demand pickle maker revs up production with SBA business loan, CDC Small Business

Farv’s Pickles expanding product line, from pickled veggies to a Bloody Mary mix.

The tradition of making pickles has run in Farver’s family since his grandparents’ days on their Hampton, Nebraska farm. Their crops would yield so much produce, they’d save it from waste by canning them. His grandparents would jar everything from green beans (one of his favorites) to beets and even making a “specialty salsa.”

Farver, a Topeka, Kansas native, would go on to pursue music and later abstract art, which took him through Arizona and Denver before settling in San Diego in 2008.

In San Diego, his art career continued to flourish as his works were featured in galleries, restaurants and other establishments.

As he pursued his artistic passions, pickles lingered in the back of his mind.

“I always thought I’d have a change in my career,” Farver said.

When homemade pickles and art collide

After Farver’s grandmother died about 12 years ago, his mother carried the long-burning family canning torch. One year, Farver said, his mother’s garden produced no green beans. That meant his pickled green bean craving would go unsatisfied – at least for the moment.

“I thought, ‘I need them.’ I had them my entire life,” he said.

Then something sparked. Having worked in restaurants, he developed a love for cooking. And as an artist, he loved to create. The thought of canning intrigued him. “Maybe I’ll try it,” he said.

With Grandma’s recipe in hand, he pickled a batch of veggies and debuted them at one of his art exhibitions five years ago.

Not only were they a hit with friends and family, they also caught the attention of a Discover SD (now Pacific San Diego) reporter who ended up writing a feature on the pickles.

“Basically when it came out, I had no idea I’d be on the cover,” he said. “That day, I looked at my phone and I got 10 emails from local stores saying they wanted to get the pickles.”

The emergence of a ‘pickle career’

This kicked off what Farver calls his “pickle career.” As the orders became bigger, he needed to up his game when it came to business insurance, nutrition labels and finding a commercial kitchen to do his canning.

Related: Are SBA business loans hard to get?

His crash course in small-batch food manufacturing was largely self-guided. And later on, he called on friend Bill Keith, founder of Perfect Bar, for some helpful pointers, he said.

Once he laid a sturdy foundation for Farv’s Pickles, his products began showing up at food retailers from local shops to major names such as Jimbo’s.

How Farv’s financed its supersonic growth

In-demand pickle maker revs up production with SBA business loan, CDC Small Business

Farv’s Pickles are perfect as a starter or game-night nosh.

Like the vast majority of startups, Farv’s initial waves of financing came from friends and family. That had worked out just fine when they were still a tiny operation.

But as demand grew from clients, Farver had to outsource some of the production to a Southern California warehouse. Each pallet of finished goods, he discovered was about $3,000 up-front. He found asking friends and family for capital infusions here and there inefficient, prompting him to later work with CDC Small Business Finance for an SBA loan.

I said, ‘I need to stop bothering friends and family  and do it the right way and look for a loan,’” Farver said.

Related: Start, buy or expand a business today

He worked with business loan officer Miriam Torres, who has more than 10 years in the lending industry. Farver said the process felt “promising” and “reliable” from the get-go. And CDC ended up “getting me what I needed” to invest in the company’s rapid growth, he added.

Now, if he needs multiple pallets of finished pickle products from his manufacturer, he can do so easily to meet his order requests on time.

Post-SBA business loan: What’s next for Farv’s Pickles?

While Farv’s outsources some of his pickle products, he still maintains a presence in a commercial kitchen to personally make seasonal and bulk products for local restaurants.

Related: Checklist: Top Docs You’ll Need for a Small Business Loan

His vinergar-y creations are available in more than 45 stores, from San Francisco to San Diego and Phoenix. And he’s eyeing a deal with a major grocer in the Phoenix metro area to possibly get Farv’s into 100-plus more locations. They’re also branching out of the traditional pickle market by co-branding a pickle vodka with 619 Spirits and producing a Bloody Mary mix.

Are you in a financing pickle? CDC Small Business Finance, a leading SBA business lender and trusted nonprofit, offers several loan options to help you grow or launch your business.

Our loan experts are skilled at matching you with a financing plan that best suits you. Let’s talk! Reach us at loaninfo@cdcloans.com or (619) 243-8667.

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