Doctor Pickle

Dr. Pickle’s Story

“Eat two garlic sours and call me in the morning.”

“I make the best pickles you have ever tasted. It is hard to believe that those green things in a jar and what I make are both called pickles. Mine are homemade, organic and full of antioxidants. That sounds like a health guy talking, doesn’t it? Really, I am a Twinkies kind of guy but not when it comes to my pickles.

My pickle making started when I was a New York City firefighter. The guys at Engine 31 were fabulous cooks. I wanted to be accepted by them so I became determined to make great tasting pickles.

At first I altered store-bought pickles by making them sweet. I created my superhero omelette by adding them to eggs. I tinkered with a variety of pickle recipes. I nitpicked the brine. I fine tuned the pickling spices. I made them outstanding. Pickles would later impact my life.

I had a nice life in New York City with a wife, a job and a home in Tarrytown. My day off was Tuesday and I saw the emergency call in my pager on Tuesday 9/11.

I went to the World Trade Center site in my own boat planning to stay 100 feet offshore and help with rescue. I watched with horror as I saw furniture coming out of windows. Then I saw the towers come down in front of me; I knew people were in there.

For the 17 days that followed, I worked 12-hour shifts doing rescue and recovery. We looked for anything that could help identify someone. I found letters, memos and shoes. People wore signs around their necks so that others could help them find loved ones I suffered from a severe lack of sleep. Even when I could finally leave work, I still could not sleep. I was delirious. People were getting hurt going in the rubble looking for anything belonging to their loved ones and we rescued them too. The crowds applauded us thinking we had rescued victims.

Of course, there was no one to rescue from the towers.

I knew many of the 343 firefighters who were lost. I had been a firefighter in New York City for 25 years. I was one of the people who took the FBI into the hole that the explosion had made so that they could investigate. This was my second terrorist attack, I was also working the day of the first World Trade Center explosion in 1993.

All these years later I still have post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). I am still in therapy. I still have lung issues. I still have respiratory issues. I still have guilt about what I could have done differently. I still think about that fact that I survived and so many others did not.

Life coach and author Tony Robbins was a big help with the first responders. He would later become one of my pickle customers. We deliver pickles to his home in Manalapan near West Palm Beach.

I needed to get out of New York City. I swore that I was never going to retire in Florida. New York City was my home. But in 2003, eight of us pooled our resources and moved to Port St Lucie. We bought and restored houses then flipped them for profit. After the economy tanked, I moved to Lauderhill and got more focused on my pickle business. I continued making and selling them to local markets and stores. My pickle warehouse in Lauderhill is called Pickleville and that is where all the pickles are made and packaged. I have branched out to making pickled tomatoes, ginger and sauerkraut too.

I like to be deep into local communities by selling the pickles in outdoor markets and meeting people in the neighborhood. A percentage of what I make goes to kids, spouses and other 9/11 PTSD victims. “Pickles with a Purpose” became my tag line.

I returned to New York City and saw the 9/11 Memorial and Museum before it was open to the public. They did a great job preserving everything. I hope the hefty admission fee won’t stop people from going there because everyone needs to see it.

I wear doctor scrubs with Dr Pickle embroidered on them. One time a kid pointed at me and said, ‘Mom! That’s Doctor Pickle!’ That made me smile. You have to have a sense of humor.

You have to also have a real name. Mine is Harold Pitts.”

Mention Broward People next time you visit Doctor Pickle and get an extra container of pickles for half price!

You can also visit Doctor Pickle online at

Doctor Pickle

Dr. Pickle’s Ingredients

“The key is my secret combination of pickling spices.

I use garlic cloves with the skin left on.

Cucumbers are delivered to Pickleville to make pickles.

A salometer measures the salt level percentages in the pickling brine.

I use sliced cucumbers in my special flavored pickles.”

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