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Newfoundland Faces Condiment Crisis As Smucker's Scraps Mustard Pickles

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

There's a condiment crisis in Newfoundland. Smuckers Food of Canada announced earlier this month that it will no longer make mustard pickles.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

As you can imagine, people freaked out. Perhaps you can't imagine. They posted Instagram photos of their half-empty jars. They ran to grocery stores to buy out what was left. Gregory Crane expressed his grief this way.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

GREGORY CRANE: Here's "The Mustard Pickle Song."

(Singing) Pick up your pickles at your favorite spot. Those we love with our salmon, they're going out of stock.

CORNISH: Let's explain mustard pickles. It's pickled cucumbers, cauliflower and onions in a mustard sauce. Smuckers of Canada had produced two brands, Zest and Habitant. Singer Gregory Crane says it's hard to imagine life without them.

CRANE: Down here in Newfoundland, mustard pickles been a tradition on on the meal for years, years and years there, right? They got what they called a zesty taste to them. And they're good on salmon and potatoes. And they're good on steak and fries. And they're good everywhere around (laughter).

SIEGEL: Newfoundland food writer and farmer Felicity Roberts isn't laughing.

FELICITY ROBERTS: A traditional food like this could vanish and it wouldn't raise an eyebrow, but it really matters to people here. Our culture is really important to us, and our food is really at the core of our cultural identity.

SIEGEL: Which wasn't enough to convince Smuckers to keep making mustard pickles. The company told us in a statement that there wasn't enough consumer demand to keep producing the tall jars of zesty yellow sauce.

CORNISH: Some local businesses are attempting to replicate the taste, and Smuckers still makes its sweet mustard pickles, but Gregory Crane says it's not the same.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

CRANE: (Singing) They surely will be missed, (unintelligible). No pickle tastes better on salmon, my man. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.