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A surprise for Mary
A very special pickle unveiled at the Taste of Fennimore
Mary Novinska
A special set of pickle jars in Minneapolis and beyond are now adorned with the smiling face of Fennimore local Mary Novinska.
This is thanks to her son Tod’s company Hobby Farmer Canning Company. Tod Novinska along with his brother Ron and the others at Hobby Farmer Canning Company unveiled their latest pickle jars at the Taste of Fennimore.
This particular pickle, Mary’s Sweet Dill Pickles, took Tod and his team back to their roots, making them just like Mom used to.
“Mom used to make pickles using her grandma’s original recipe,” Tod explained. “People loved them! She used to make pickles and store them at the Hickory Grove Golf Course for them to use in their Bloody Marys. So my wife and I began making pickles and giving them as gifts or sharing them with friends and everyone kept telling us ‘You gotta sell these!’”
After a couple of years tinkering with the original brine and creating different flavor profiles, Tod and his wife became involved selling their pickles at a craft fair at their church.
“After about five to ten years of doing craft fairs, our business partner helped us to decide to jump in and start a business out of it,” Tod said. “We originally thought we’d do just wholesale pickles, but we were approached by Keg and Case Marketplace in St. Paul and they asked us to open a store in their food hall. We opened the retail store in September of ‘18 and, the rest is history, as they say!”
The brick and mortar store in the Keg and Case Marketplace also has touches of home.
“The milk can and tractor seat stools were from my dad’s old milk cans that he used to deliver back in the ‘50s,” Tod noted with a chuckle. “And all of the barn wood was reclaimed from a barn on my brother’s property that he had taken down a few years prior.”
Bringing back the original sweet dill their mom used to make seemed to be a natural choice for the Hobby Farmer Canning Company.
“We really wanted to bring back the sweet dill because she’s been the real inspiration for this whole thing,” Tod said. “She made them for years and it’s been our honor to keep them going. Unveiling them at  the Taste was the first time anyone had seen them. We didn’t even put them out in our store until that weekend because we didn’t want to spill the beans before she saw them at the Taste.”
Photos captured the moment of Mary seeing her smiling face staring back at her from the jar. She was seen laughing and smiling right back, holding the jar in the middle of the crowd at the Taste of Fennimore.
A mother’s recipe also influenced the other primary product sold by the Hobby Farmer Canning Company.
Switchel and Switchel Fizz both are featured in the store as well as throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin.
“Switchel is a old drink that was popular in the 1800’s,” Tod explained. “It’s apple cider vinegar, ginger juice, clover honey and water. It comes in three flavors, turmeric, cinnamon and cayenne. It’s a pre-biotic beverage and is a very good natural energy drink. It’s very clean and fresh tasting. My business partner Jeff used to make it in the 70’s with his mother’s recipe. He was in a band and when he would have a sore throat or during the long winters, it would help him get through. When we wanted to diversify a bit he suggested making Switchel and its been very well received!”
Tod noted that the Switchel is currently available in six packs but they are also hoping to expand into producing it in cans. He also added that the Hobby Farmer Canning Company is also in the works to get their products available locally, in Fennimore.
“We are working on trying to get them into Bender’s (Foods),” Tod shared. “The Hilltop Bar did buy a case of pickles for their Bloody Mary’s so they’re available there for now!”

To learn more about where you can find Switchel and Pickles from the Hobby Farmer Canning Company as well as their brick and mortar location you can visit