(By Gregory Witul – Babcia’s Closet) We are now well into Lent and while I love getting a fish fry from Happy Swallow, Londa’s Diner, Jim’s Restaurant, and Scharf’s, I sometimes want a little lighter fair. So while everyone else is enjoying their yellow pike and haddock I’ll settle in with the classic grilled cheese sandwich, french fries, and a pickle spear on the side. While today’s pickles are a tasty treat, they in no way compare to the ogorek kiszony of Cheektowaga’s classic Tree Pickle Company.
The industrial giant that would become the Tree Pickle Company got its start in the back room of Peter Wojda’s butcher shop at 55 Walden Ave. Born in Warsaw in the summer of 1886, Wojda moved from Poland with his wife Mary and son to Buffalo around 1913.
Settling in Buffalo’s East Side, Peter took up his old trade of selling meat and groceries on Walden Avenue. To supplement their income, the Wojdas began producing “old world” style pickles to sell exclusively in their shop. Within a short time, customers from across the city began descending on their little store for their barreled pickles and soon the pickle income outpaced the meat sales.