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University of Missouri

Pack A Peck of Pickled Peppers

A Mizzou alumnus floats a spicy pickle recipe.

Float Trip Pickles

Float Trip Pickles popped up at Tiger tailgates during the 2013 football season. Photo by Nicholas Benner.

The late Jerry Harmison Sr. was 50 in 1992 when the boys took him on his maiden float trip down southern Missouri’s North Fork River. The aquatic journey became an annual tradition for family and friends — and it spawned a spicy staple.

The boys — Springfield, Mo., law partners Jerry Harmison Jr. and Greg Pearman, JD ’95 — made batches of Float Trip Pickles, a sweet and zesty jalapeño and cucumber concoction, before each yearly shove-off. The buoyant gherkins have accompanied everything from scrambled eggs to martinis. Now they’re for sale in 16- and 32-ounce jars at floattrippickles.com and about 100 retail stores in Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas and Oklahoma.

“Someone gave us some bread-and-butter pickles to take on the float trip one year, and we thought, we can do better than this,” Pearman says. “We came up with a recipe, and so many people liked them and requested them for tailgate parties that we taste-tested them at the 2011 Rock’n Ribs BBQ Festival in Springfield. They were such a huge success that we started Float Trip Pickles LLC one year later.”