Bill Averbach, Pickleville
A musician by trade—he plays the trumpet, a little accordion (no polkas), and sings—Bill Averbach had no intention of earning the nickname “pickle man.” Although he spent 20 years working as a chef and cook in eateries ranging from greasy spoons to upscale Italian restaurants, he fell back into the culinary field after his garden produced an overabundance of cucumbers—and a friend suggested he sell the probiotic, fermented pickles (made without vinegar) he’d made with his family’s traditional recipes. “All of my relatives make great pickles,” Averbach says.
Now, in addition to playing regular gigs with his bands (bam-jazz.com), Averbach spends his days selling his original kosher pickles, to which he’s added a collection of Southern-style pickles, seasonal pickled vegetables, salsas, and kimchi. He estimates that he goes through about 100 pounds of cucumbers a week. And, Averbach says, his two professions have more in common than you might think. “When I’m selling pickles here, I’m performing,” he says.
“I love telling jokes.” —A.A.