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The Deal Behind The Dill…
Well it all began because I was tired of buying homemade pickles at festivals that cost me $8-$10 a jar, only to get home, try them, and then throw them out. I liked pickles but found that I could get the same salt filled, green food colored, stale tasting pickle at any grocery store for $2 a jar so why was I wasting my money eating someone’s grandmother’s recipe that was no different than a generic pickle in a grocery store? I began to experiment with my pickle making but was failing miserably and had given up.
Then life changed…
In 2010 I began to have a severe headache that would not go away. After consulting several specialists I ended up at the neurology department at a medical school in Georgia. After a year of testing and evaluation it was determined that the damage to my brain was ultimately caused by a car bomb attack that had occurred in Iraq in 2005. I was diagnosed with TBI, Traumatic Brain Injury, but the damage that I sustained was slow to develop. The doctors explained to me that they knew a lot more about TBI now than used to be known, so treatment was hit or miss. I was travelling a good bit for my civilian job but the doctors told me then that they did not know what the long term prognosis would be. I kept my headaches private and spent most days nauseated and living in constant pain. The headache never goes away but just changes in severity and location. I have always acknowledged that there are soldiers that have suffered far worse than I have or ever will and as my business grows I hope to have a positive impact for them and their families.
By 2013 I was seeing the doctors monthly and sometimes weekly, traveling from Columbus, GA, Savannah, GA, Augusta, GA, and Charleston, SC. My civilian manager, Ruben, was made aware of the issues that I was having and checked on me regularly to make sure that I was okay and if there was anything that he could do for me. He was a blessing at that time in my civilian career because most managers would throw you to the wolves at the sign of any weakness. It was the year that the civilian doctors insisted that I move my treatment to the VA and asked me repeatedly if I would retire from the National Guard because I would never be cleared medically to deploy again. My world began to crumble when the VA doctors told me that they would not clear me to continue my civilian job due to the dangers of me driving constantly and my brain being “cloudy” and hard to concentrate with complex tasks.
After I was told that I was being removed from my job and being placed on indefinite medical leave I had a pity party. As a single parent all I could think of is how was I going to support my son and I? I have to work, there are bills to pay… God what am I supposed to do? On a Saturday night the answer was pushed back into my mindset: make pickles. I was raised in a Christian home, and I thank my parents for that. I have made my share of mistakes and always will but it was comforting to know that I had a good foundation that had been set by my parents. I got up and went to the store and bought the ingredients that had come to my mind and put them together as the recipe specified; I had not tried to make pickles with the directions that I was given. I remember thinking and laughing to myself, “I hope these don’t kill me after I eat them,” because my son was at his grandparents and would not be home for a few days.
The pickles that I made were the best that I had ever eaten, and over the last 2 years the recipe has been tested and refined. Not everyone in my family bought in right away and looked at them as a hobby to have on the side. I sought out a mentor during this time and realized that pickle recipes are a dime a dozen, everybody’s got one and thinks theirs is the best. Wow, there are some really bad pickles out there, and I am glad that my family has one that they can really be proud of and actually brag about! It is a good bit of work to get a product to the market and sometimes frustrating but it has been worth it. I have learned along the way, and I am confident in the fact that you will get the best pickle that you have ever eaten, and I will strive to keep the price as low as possible. Our slogan is, “Gourmet Pickles at a Blue Collar Price,” and we intend to keep that promise. When you compare taste, quality, and value, I personally guarantee that you will be happy with your choice of any product from The Real Deal Dill Pickles. We are a family owned company and will treat everyone as part of our family. Please feel free to share your comments with us and as we grow we will make every effort to earn your pickle loyalty!
Thank You and Pickle On!
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Special Thanks to…
My parents, James and Sherry Alexander
My sisters, Beth, Michelle, and Heather
My brother, Michael
My son, Bryan