November 3, 2022 | Westword, Molly Martin
"We have pickle popsicles, we have pickle cotton candy, pickle almonds, pickle peanuts. We have pickled eggs, jalapeño and original. We have pickled pig's feet," says an enthusiastic employee at the Pickle Patch. The list goes on, too, from jumbo garlic dill pickles to pickles soaked in chamoy, Tapatío or Kool-Aid.
Shots of pickle juice and pickle sandwiches — built on giant pickles instead of bread — are also on the menu. It's a pickle paradise at the Mile High Flea Market in Henderson, just a few minutes north of Commerce City.
The market was founded in 1976 and moved to its current eighty-acre location at I-76 and 88th Avenue a decade later. It's open every weekend, year-round, when vendors sling everything from turkey legs and churros to antiques, produce, medical supplies, clothing, guitars, toys, sunglasses, furniture and much more. You never quite know what you'll find around the next corner of Mile High Flea, but that's part of the fun. There's also a kids' ride zone complete with a Ferris wheel and giant slide.
And now there's the Pickle Patch, which was added to the farmers' market section of the flea this year. At this stand, visitors are greeted by staffers wearing green shirts that say "You had me at pickles." A collection of jars filled with pickled options lines the front of the stall, available by the pint ($10) or half-pint ($5).
The jumbo pickles are served on sticks ($3), for easy snacking as you walk around the market. The employee favorite is the garlic dill, which boasts that classic pickle flavor, but the more adventurous should consider the option soaked in chamoy, a sweet, salty and slightly spicy condiment that is itself pickled.
Novelties like the pickle-flavored cotton candy make a great gift (even if it doesn't pack a super-pickley punch). But the real standouts are the pickle sandwiches ($7-$11). Available in four options, including one that comes on a cucumber instead of a pickle, the gluten-free, carb-less sandwiches are quite messy — pickles are juicy, after all, and don't hold in the ingredients as well as two pieces of bread. But they offer a satisfying crunch and remove any need to order pickles on the side.
The variations are loaded with cold cuts and typical sandwich toppings, like the Dilly Italian Sub, with ham, capicola, salami, provolone, lettuce, tomato, red onion and mayo on a jumbo dill pickle. The Diablo gets a spicy boost from its base, Tapatío-soaked pickles, while the Firecracker with roasted turkey and American cheese is boosted by the addition of sriracha mayo and crunchy Hot Cheetos.
Staffers excitedly deliver the sandwiches, enjoying the reactions of the customers experiencing these novel eats seemingly as much as the diners enjoy eating them. This spot isn't gourmet, by any means, but it's certainly a fun lunchtime pit stop.
While the market is not allowed to serve hard liquor, it can offer beer and wine. Micheladas are popular at the Pickle Patch, as well as all over the Mile High Flea, but this stall offers a few libations you won't find anywhere else. The Pickle Patch Bloody Mary ($14) is made with a Merlot base and a brine-infused Bloody mix — and served with a pickle spear, of course. There's also the Spicy Surfer ($14), a blend of Pinot Grigio and a jalapeño-and-brine-infused lime juice. Served in a tall, palm tree-shaped cup, it will attract attention as you wander the market, drink in hand.
Or opt for a straight-up shot of pickle juice ($2). After all, you're at the Pickle Patch!