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posted: 11/1/2013 6:43 PM

Pickle plant proposal up for Lake Zurich village board vote

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  • Mundelein's NorthStar Pickle Co. may move into this 14,000-square-foot building on Donata Court in an industrial area east of Midlothian Road in Lake Zurich.

       Mundelein's NorthStar Pickle Co. may move into this 14,000-square-foot building on Donata Court in an industrial area east of Midlothian Road in Lake Zurich.
    Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

  • NorthStar Pickle Co. plans to move from Mundelein to Lake Zurich. The company makes its own pickle varieties and packages neon-green relish used on Superdawg wieners in Wheeling and Chicago.

      NorthStar Pickle Co. plans to move from Mundelein to Lake Zurich. The company makes its own pickle varieties and packages neon-green relish used on Superdawg wieners in Wheeling and Chicago.
    GEORGE LECLAIRE/Daily Herald file photo

 
 

Lake Zurich's elected officials will decide whether to approve a pickle manufacturer's request to move to the village from Mundelein.

Citing the need for a larger facility due to growth, NorthStar Pickle Co. proposes occupying a 14,000-square-foot building on Donata Court in an industrial area east of Midlothian Road.

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"We're just doing it on our own," NorthStar President and CEO Jeff Oziemkowski said Friday, when asked if the company received any local or state government financial incentives for the planned shift to Lake Zurich.

Village board members at a meeting Monday evening are to vote on a special-use permit that would let NorthStar operate in the Donata Court building. NorthStar is in its sixth year of refrigerated pickle production at its plant on Morris Avenue in Mundelein.

NorthStar would move into a structure that was built for a pizza manufacturer in 2008. However, the building was used for only one year and has been vacant since the business ceased operations.

Oziemkowski said it's hoped NorthStar would begin operating in Lake Zurich in early January. He said the company typically has 10 to 15 employees.

NorthStar makes dill, garlic, salt and half-sour pickles sold to food service companies -- not consumers -- for distribution to restaurants in the United States, Canada and Mexico. It also packages neon-green relish that's produced in Wisconsin and used at the iconic Superdawg in Chicago and Wheeling.

Oziemkowski said NorthStar's refrigerated pickles are made from cucumbers just selected from a farm and transported to its plant in chilled trucks. If East Coast weather conditions allow, he said, the next cucumber shipment should arrive from Florida by Monday.

In his successful effort to win a positive recommendation from the Lake Zurich plan commission last month, Oziemkowski explained how the cucumbers are hand sorted and evaluated for color, appearance and texture before a decision is made on whether they are fit to be packed whole or cut into spears or chips.

"Our process is all made with fresh cucumbers from the farm," he said. "It is not shelf-stable, so we don't have huge vats sitting out with chemicals or anything along those lines."

Lake Zurich officials say they've checked on NorthStar's operation in Mundelein and did not find any complaints about odor or other matters. Among those to come away with a favorable impression was Betty Harrison, the village's environmental quality control supervisor who toured the facility in early October.

"The pickle process is a very clean operation," Harrison said.

Twitter: @DHBobSusnjara

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