We have bad news. As of June 20, our Roasted Brussel Sprouts will be going away for a while. Not to worry, though – we’ll be bringing them back in their peak local growing season, which is late fall here in the Northeast.
After working on it for well over a year, we have finally found three local farms with whom we have contracted to supply 100% of our brussel sprout volume (north of 3,000 lbs per week) come the fall. This may sound trivial, but, boy, has this been a challenge for us – sourcing local veggies in sufficient volumes is not easy here in the Northeast. So we’re really excited about this development – both to serve a great, local product this fall, as well as to see the fruits of our ongoing efforts to support the local growing community.
So why are we taking the brussel sprouts off the menu now? Are we totally crazy to temporarily stop selling our most popular item (by far)?
Maybe we are, but we’re also committed to sticking to our mission, which is to make it easier for all to eat well. Our definition of “eating well” includes both providing menu items with balanced nutritional profiles and making them with high quality ingredients – we think both are equally important.
When it comes to vegetables, quality is all about the freshness of the produce as well as the growing practices of the farms from which the crops are coming. Our standard practice is to visit the farms that we work with to make sure that we’re comfortable with the way they’re growing their crops – how often they’re rotating, their pest management and irrigation techniques, and their use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.
We can’t always work with organic farms, but we do our best to work with more responsible conventional farms, and we’re able to do this because we visit the farms ourselves. In the case of our brussel sprouts, for some time we’ve had to source them from further away than we can travel to (two farms in California).
Not only have we not been able to inspect these farms, but we don’t love the impact that long travel times have on both the quality of the product and the environment. Recently, we have seen the sprouts come in at a lower quality than we have been accustomed to – larger sizes and less favorable texture, which is much harder to cook. So the quality of the finished product has suffered. We’ve noticed this, and some of you have been noticing it as well.
So we owe you an apology. For the past few months, we have sacrificed our standards because we were afraid of taking our most popular item off the menu. We sell A LOT of brussel sprouts (over 3,000 lbs per week, as mentioned above) and, quite candidly, we’ve been fearful of the impact that removing them may have on our business. “What if people stop coming,” we’ve been asking ourselves.
Compounding these feelings has been the amazing growth and success we have had so far this year at Dig Inn – it seems like every week we see more and more folks coming into the restaurants. Accordingly, we have been reluctant to make any moves that might impact this exciting momentum – momentum that will allow us to continue to grow our business and build new Dig Inn locations later this year.
But after thinking about it long and hard, we have decided to take them off the menu until we can source them from the right local farms during the right time of year. We just can’t sacrifice our standards or serve an inferior product any longer. Although this makes us a little nervous, we believe that we have gotten to a point where you won’t stop coming just because we stop serving brussel sprouts for a while (it’ll only be a few months!), and we really hope we’re right.
But whatever happens, so be it. We’re going to stay true to our mission and let the cards fall as they will. Because if we can’t do that, what’s the point of doing all of this in the first place?
And lastly – a quick mention of the new goodies that will be coming online on June 20th. We’ll be replacing the Roasted Brussel Sprouts with a Seasonal Roasted Vegetable Medley, which, believe you me, is a pretty stellar dish itself. This will become a fixture on the Dig Inn menu from here on out – it’s a simple recipe featuring whichever 4-5 veggies are then in season, roasted in a bit of extra virgin olive oil, sea salt and cracked pepper.
In addition, well be adding a number of cold options as the weather heats up, including:
- Local Kale Salad w/ green apple and sunflower seeds
- Local Zucchini & Arugula w/ currants in lemon vinaigrette
- Organic Whole Wheat Pasta Salad w/ local zucchini, plum tomatoes and grass fed cheddar
- Wild Alaskan Salmon Salad w/ cucumber and red pepper
We hope you don’t miss the brussel sprouts too much while they’re gone for a few months, and we hope you find these new dishes delicious and exciting. Thanks very much for your support as we continue to push onward toward achieving our mission.
As always, we’d love to hear from you, especially in this case. Please let us know your thoughts in the comments below.