4 Maitland Mountain Farm spicy pickles (small dice)
4 avocados (Haas)
1 tablespoon pickle brine or to taste
3 tablespoons fresh chopped chives
Salt & pepper to taste


1. Halve avocados and remove large seed. Dice avocado and immediately place avocados into large bowl.
2. Remove seeds from spicy pickles with a knife and dice pickles into large chunks.
3. Add pickle brine and mix ingredients together until incorporated. Salt and pepper to taste.

Recipe courtesy of Andy Varela, Maitland Mountain Farm, 2012.

by Heather Atwood: The Maitland Mountain Farm family -  Holly, Heather, Andy, baby Jett, and Peter  - in Salem, MA  remind us that local foods can be extraordinary, exceptional, and worth tracking down.

I'll start with "Holly's Spicy Pickles," considered "menu worthy" by many local restaurants. Two years ago Holly Maitland began playing around with a bumper crop of Maitland Farm's cucumbers, and developed a product beside which any sandwich should consider itself honored.   In fact, I think this way: "I'll have a sandwich with my Maitland Mountain Farm Pickle."  Just read this ingredient list, and imagine a fresh cucumber steeped in red chilis, cinnamon, cloves, cardamon, ginger, mace, coriander and on.

In this complex, spicy brine, the cuke spears aren't too sweet, too garlicky, too dilly, but crunch and pack a punch of flavor.  They're so delicious I've actually served them wrapped in wax paper at a cocktail party.

Duckworth's Bistro in Gloucester and the Blue Ox in Lynn both use Holly's Spicy Pickles in their martinis.  Finz in Salem serves a relish made of Holly's Spicy Pickles with their crab cakes.  The Lobster Shanty serves them on all their sandwiches.  Hunt them down:  Vidalias in Beverly Farms, The Meat House in N. Beverly and Milk & Honey in Salem all sell Maitland Mountain pickles.

In 1976 Peter Maitland bought two and a half acres of land in Salem. An entire neighborhood grew like weeds around him, but Peter built a barn, started a garden, and kept raising his family.

Now his two daughters, Heather and Holly, and Holly's partner, Andy Varela, grow some of the prettiest, most unusual produce on those two and a half acres.  Set up in farmers markets this summer, the Maitland people will have green zebra tomatoes, epazote, all kinds of beans and gorgeous little boxes of edible flowers - calendula, violets, coriander, nasturtiums, and broccoli rabe flowers, a delicate little yellow flower that tasted meaty.  Of course, they'll have lots of other New England farm standards, too.

The Maitland folks will be at the Salem, Swampscott, Gloucester, and Marblehead farmers markets.  Come fall, they’ll be selling carnival-colored bunches of hard to find dahlias, too.

Lastly, mark your calendars now.  In October, the Maitlands will harvest and prepare their horseradish, making one of the most flavorful local condiments you can set on your holiday relish tray.

Here's yet another innovative way to honor the flavors in a Maitland Mountain Farm pickle:  guacamole.  Andy Varela mixes diced pickle with avocado.  It’s not authentic Mexican, but chips and Maitland Mountain Farm Guac should be what's served with every beer and margarita in Salem.

Dill Pickle Guacamole
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