Five months after he began mass-production, Alvin Ray’s Bayou Best Pickles are on the shelves of 40 stores around the state.

“It’s not a dill and it’s not a bread and butter,” Ray said. “It’s totally different.”

It also appears to be habit-forming, according to the LSU AgCenter.

Ray, a Prairieville resident, started making pickles about three years ago, After some experimentation, he came up with a recipe that produced sweet, spicy and crispy pickles. And then he gave them away.

His friends and co-workers loved the pickles. Ray started carting them to local farmers markets, and a loyal customer base bloomed.

But Ray struggled to keep up with demand. His original recipe made around two gallons of pickles. He was making 40 gallons at a time by the time he became a tenant at the AgCenter Food Incubator in 2014.

Ray now makes 5,000 to 6,000 one-pint jars each month at the incubator.