In Memoriam: Mrs. Sassard

Charleston lost a culinary icon last week with the passing of Gertrude Sassard, who along with her late husband, Dupree, her son, Allen, and daughter-in-law Dayna, ran “Mrs. Sassard’s Handmade,” a Mount Pleasant-based manufacturer of premium pickles, preserves, jams, and jellies, founded in 1917. In addition to being a tireless worker, Gertrude was a great storyteller and wit, whose bemused skepticism about the capabilities of those around her–particularly her wholesale customers–kept everyone laughing around the production kitchen. A great part of the pleasure of collecting our cases of Iced Tomato Pickles and Pickled Peaches from the Sassard house on Church Street was visiting with Gertrude, who typically could be found in the production kitchen peeling sunchokes with a paring knife— and she could peel fast. “Made its way by the way it’s made” is the company slogan, and well describes the effort that goes into everything Gertrude touched, from the artichokes, to the hand-peeled Pickled Peaches, to the whole fig preserves, Jerusalem artichoke relish, and the rare Pumpkin Chip Preserves. We are saddened greatly by her passing, but thanks to her son Allen, who continues in her footsteps, we know the products we love so much will remain on Lowcountry tables for years to come, in the company of great memories of Gertrude Sassard.