“To Provide Pickle Lovers With The Best Darn Pickles Available Anywhere…”
Charles Woodbridge founded Lakeside Packing Company in 1942 on this tenet and today we are still using this principle as our mission statement!
Even though we produce and sell over 70 products to markets in Canada, United States, Europe, the Caribbean, Asia and Australia, we have never lost focus on the foundation this company was built on…Quality.
To assure our customers of the quality of our products, we still adhere to traditional methods. Most of our crops are still hand picked and our products are hand packed and hand processed, to allow us to focus on detail and product quality!
We let the Big Guys mass produce and concentrate on quantity
Faced with a surplus of cucumbers and peppers on his fresh market farm, Charles Woodbridge (pictured with his brother Mervyn) realized that preserving these vegetables would allow him to meet the growing demands of the consumer (who wanted a pickle or pepper product year round) and would allow him to sell his surplus crop and maximize his growing potential! Never sacrificing quality!
With an innovative mind and an entrepreneurial drive, Charles Woodbridge set out to accomplish his dream.
Borrowing many family recipes from his mother and grandmother and developing some of his own, Charles set out to supply the consumer with the traditional old fashioned tastes and flavours that people fancied. Especially, for many Europeans who could not find the products in Canada, that they were use to back home in the “Old Country.”
The art of pickling and vegetable preservation was much different back then. Wooden barrels were often used and salt brine was the most common medium for preserving. Spices were garden fresh and hand chopped! Vinegars became increasingly necessary to prevent spoilage as technology changed. Charles Woodbridge was an innovator and an experimenter who developed many new processes and methods to increase the quality and firmness of his products.
Lakeside Packing in its infancy, supplied many large companies with a “house brand” label for a number of years and focused on co-packing for other processors as well! Realizing the potential that existed, Lakeside Packing began in 1948 offering the “Lakeside label” to consumers and it began to flourish.
What’s in Our Name
It’s simple! Our name indicates our location and our location reflects our name. We are located on the south shore of Essex County, in the province of Ontario, Canada. On the Lake (Erie) side!
Our labels have changed through evolution! Our first label (see below) illustrated a tranquil scene of a sailboat on a lake, to our familiar freelance blue label, to our present day labels with the distinguishable flag logo and yellow colour. Nothing fancy…. because we still focus on whats inside the jar. As one customer said,”You can’t eat the label!”
Great pickles sell the second jar…Great labels and packaging sell only the first…
Our “Lakeside” label is strong in many areas, but due to changing markets and consumer demands, private label products are becoming more readily available. Due to our high standards of quality, flavour and firmness, many companies are asking us to put their label on our products. Today, we provide well over 100 grocery stores, distributors, restaurants, farm markets, vendors and retailers with a private label product. They like our quality so much, that they want to call the products their own!
In 1950, Donald Woodbridge began working (after school) making pickle products with his father. Donald (President) has been instrumental in the growth and development of Lakeside Packing since the day he began! Focused on agriculture, Donald, developed several hybrid varieties of cucumber and pepper cultivars to increase crop yields and increase disease resistance. A natural transition, would find him learning and even developing new pickling processes in the plant. His skill in product development and thermal pasteurization processes has added many products to our large product line. A born salesman, he has opened many new markets for Lakeside throughout the world.
In 1958, after looking for many years, Donald found his sweetest pickle of all, at the factory, his wife Heidi! They were married shortly thereafter!
Heidi, the chief pickle, began working at Lakeside Packing in 1957. She was quickly promoted through the ranks, due to her high level of conscientiousness and commitment. In 1974, due to her great accounting knowledge, she became C.F.O.
The Woodbridge family grew and within a few short years, there were three gherkins! Kim, Christine and Alan. All three worked summers and after school at the pickle factory. After university, there was only 1 pickle left in the jar. Alan, much like his father, joined the ranks of pickle stardom. Learning the trade quickly, Alan (Vice-President) has offered his talents to the company. Focusing on new markets throughout the world, Alan has developed sales in many countries. Also, developing many new products to the existing line. Plant management and plant maintenance is high on his priority! He is always up on technology changes, specializing in food science! Similar to his parents, he also made a pickle connection at the factory. He met his wife Susan in 1992 and married in 1996. In 2001, the stork brought a baby dill-named Alyssa. Alyssa is quickly learning the business. Sampling! Sampling! Sampling!
Where We Are Headed
Following the same principles that my grandfather ingrained on us…we will continue to focus on quality, quality, quality! Customer is King! Purchasing cucumbers and vegetables from the world market. Selecting farmers that care about their crops. Using traditional techniques! Hand Picking! Hand Packing! Hand Processing! Being meticulous! Don’t rush the process! Using the finest ingredients! Hopefully, this will carry us into the future and will allow us to continue…”To Provide Pickle Lovers With The Best Darn Pickles Available Anywhere!”