Lineup Videos

Clover Food Lab_Ayr Muir

Sean Ryan is going to be our area manager in DC. He’s helped build some of the most successful fast food companies in the country. And he’s looking at Clover with a pair of fresh eyes. He had an idea a few weeks ago to do a weekly pre-meal video for Clover employees. I really loved the idea.

If you’ve worked in a restaurant before chances are you’re familiar with a pre-meal. Basically before each shift, the manager will have a meeting with employees to go over any current restaurant happenings and new items.

At Clover, we’ve played around with the idea of a pre-meal. We tried doing one at Kendall, but it never stuck. Employees were all coming in at different times, so it wasn’t always practical to hold a daily meeting. Sean suggested we look to video. We could film a video pre-meal once a week, post it to the Clover Youtube channel, and have each employee watch the current weekly video before each of their shifts. Right now we’re in the testing stage at Clover KND. We’re on Week 3 now. Paul who’s our awesome communications intern, is shooting the videos on iPods so they can be viewed by any employee. Ayr is the subject of the first few videos.  In time, if this goes well, we’d shift to other leaders in the company.

If we do this right,

-The video would help ensure that all the great things Clover is doing don’t go unnoticed by the folks who are making it happen every day
-The video would provide a point in the employee’s day where they are focused solely on learning and gathering information. The video could enhance their understanding of food, recipes, food systems, etc.

If we do this wrong,

-The video could feel repetitive and not engaging. The employees could ignore the information.

I think tone will have a lot to do with whether this succeeds or fails. We’re hoping to strike the right tone.

0

Asian Pears

Clover Food Lab_Asian Pears

 

Chris went to Russo’s yesterday desperately searching for seasonal fruit to replace the peaches that are going out of season.

Lookout Farm, where we were getting our peaches, has Asian Pears coming into season. Asian Pear is a variety of pear native to China and Japan, but that also grows beautifully here in Massachusetts.

These are crisp. Enzo noticed they taste like Concord grapes, and I agree. They’ve got a really winey, beautiful aftertaste. We’ll be cutting them fresh to put on your Yogurt and Granola, your Oatmeal, and blending them into Pear Lemonade at lunch. Come try Asian Pears!

0

Salted chocolate cupcakes at CloverHSQ

IMG_8988

Ayr told me about the best food experience he’s ever had: a salted chocolate donut at a donut place in Portland, Maine.

Clover tradition means cupcakes on employee’s birthdays. I asked Megan if she would lend her culinary skills to making a salted chocolate cupcake with a chocolate ganache. I brought some delicious salt from Washington State.

They’re here, FREE for all customers, at CloverHSQ (7 Holyoke St, Cambridge). Come get them while they’re still here! RIGHT NOW!!!

0

Say farewell to peaches with Peach Donuts at CloverKND on Friday

Clover Food Lab_Peaches

Remember those late snowstorms we had in April? They affected the stone fruit harvest by freezing the buds that had already formed on the peach trees. Only a few farms were able to get peaches. One of those was Lookout Farm in Natick. We waited to serve them until they were coming to us really ripe and beautiful. You might have tried them on our Oatmeal or Yogurt and Granola. Now the peach season is coming to an end.

Enzo’s going to be making buttermilk donuts with local peach glaze on Friday at Clover Kendall in honor of our Coffee event with Derek Anderson of Speedwell Roasters.

Come to the event and you’ll get 2 donuts with your coffee. You can also Pre-order a box of donuts here. Limited number!

 

0

You’ve been eating local…

IMG_4757_2

That’s Danya and Matt of Queen’s Greens Farm in North Amherst. They’re the ones responsible for the beautiful red leaf lettuce you might have had this summer, and for the beets we’re featuring now in the Hungarian beet sandwich. It’s been our best summer yet in terms of percentage of the menu that’s sourced from this region.

We’ll do another one of these in the height of autumn, and I think it will be similarly interesting. Great job Chris and the kitchen for securing these amazing relationships!

LOCAL AUDIT: EARLY SEPTEMBER 2014

Cheddar Cheese (breakfast sandwich, popover breakfast sandwich, Tomato Sandwich, BBQ Seitan, Brussel Sandwich at MIT)
Grafton Village Cheese, Vermont

Eggs (Breakfast Sandwich, Popovers, Egg and Eggplant)
Chip-In Farm, Bedford, Mass (occasionally will substitute other local farms)

Milk (Popovers, Milk for your coffee)
Mapleline Farm, Hadley, Mass

Yogurt (Yogurt w/Granola and Fruit)
Sidehill Farm, Hawley, Mass

Potatoes (French Fries w/Rosemary)
Swazlawski Farm, Hatfield, MA

Peaches (Oatmeal, Granola, Agua Fresca, Lemonade, Soda, leaving this week)
Lookout Farm, Natick, Mass

Asian Pears (Oatmeal, Granola, Lemonade, Soda, launching this week)
Lookout Farm, Natick, Mass

Eggplant (Egg + Eggplant Sandwich and Platter)
Next Barn Over, Hadley, Mass  (will begin to substitute with CA eggplant this week when local supplies end)

Red Peppers (Pepper Relish Sandwich)
Next Barn Over, Hadley, Mass 

Cucumbers (Chickpea Fritter, Egg and Eggplant)
Next Barn Over, Hadley, Mass (will begin to substitute with CA cucumbers this week when local supplies end)

Summer Squash (Pepper Relish Sandwich)
Next Barn Over, Hadley, Mass 

Beets (Beet Mint Feta Salad, Beet Sandwich, launching this week)
Queen’s Greens, Amherst, Mass

Lettuce (BBQ, BLT, Heirloom Tomato Sandwich)
Queen’s Greens, Amherst, Mass

Tomatoes (Tomato Sandwich, Gazpacho Soup, Chickpea Fritter, Egg and Eggplant, Breakfast Sandwich, BBQ, BLT)
Queen’s Greens, Amherst, Mass
Lindentree Farm, Lincoln, Mass (will switch to Backyard Farms tomatoes from Maine when local field tomatoes end this week)

Seaweed (seaweed salads)
Ironbound Island Seaweed, Schoodic Peninsula, Maine

Apple Cider Vinegar (dressing for salads)
Dwight Miller Orchards, Dummerston, VT

Kochere coffee (from Ethiopia)
Roasted by Barismo, Somerville, Mass

La Trinidad coffee (from Costa Rica)
Roasted by Speedwell, Plymouth, Mass

Beer
Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project, Westport/Somerville, Mass
Berkshire Brewing Co., South Deerfield, Mass
Mystic Brewing Co., Chelsea, Mass
Notch Brewing Co., Ipswich, Mass

0

Hungarian Beet Sandwich launches, with late summer beets

Local Food

Danya from Queen’s Greens called to say she had a bumper crop of local beets. We said we’d buy them all.

We’re going to run the Hungarian Beet Sandwich. It’s launching tomorrow. We ran this back in February with Michael Docter’s Winter Moon Roots beets, and we had a lot of customers hoping it would return.

A little history. Megan (HR Director) came up with this sandwich based on a suggestion from an MIT customer from Hungary. Megan researched Hungarian food and came up with a recipe we all loved. Try it, even if you think you hate beets. I know how you feel. I used to hate them too.

The Hungarian beet sandwich has:
-cream cheese dill spread
-twice cooked beets (roasted, then fried, not oily at all), tossed with caraway right out of the fryer
-toasted chopped walnuts
-fresh cabbage slaw with thinly sliced white onion and paprika

Click here to watch the training video.

0

Join us for St. Botolph’s Launch at CloverKND

-6

These two are the reason we have beer at Clover. We started talking to Dann and Martha back in 2009 about making beer to sell to Clover. They started talking to us about all the problems the beer industry was having with sourcing locally. They introduced us to Andrea at Valley Malt, and to a bunch of the other amazing brewers in New England.

Join us Thursday 9/25, 6pm at Clover Kendall Square for the launch of Pretty Things St. Botolph’s Town Beer. They made this beer as an homage to the Northern England region of Yorkshire. Did you know St. Botolph is the name for the original Boston in England? 

First 24 folks in the door will get Pretty Things pint glasses!

0

September is hot pepper season in Massachusetts

IMG_8789_2

September means fresh peppers in Massachusetts, which means our Hot Sauce 101 class is back. You’ll learn how to make Clover’s hot sauce featuring local hot peppers, coriander, garlic, and vinegar – and if there’s time – some other versions of hot sauce too. You’ll leave with a jar of fresh hot sauce to take home.

This class came about three years ago when Danna and Chris, two customers at the MIT truck, who were addicted to our hot sauce, begged us to teach them how to make it. Enzo’s teaching, which means it will be a good time.

Wednesday, September 17, 4pm-5pm

Clover Kendall Square, 5 Cambridge Center, Cambridge, MA
$35 for general public. Free if you’re a CSA member who picks up your share at Clover.
Click the lefthand tab of the website to sign up.

0

Would you buy this?

IMG_1880

We’ve been thinking of ideas for Whole Foods. Thanks to all who filled out our survey last month. It’s now closed, but we’ll have another one next month.

This is one idea that came out of some of our early discussions about Whole Foods. Could we make something portable? Something that would appeal to kids? Something that could highlight local, just cut ingredients? And maybe something that could replace chips in satisfaction and crunch?

We used Clover Brookline Village as a test site for these snack cups. Chris sourced some beautiful produce, and cut them into bite-sized pieces (in this picture you can see watermelon radishes from Winter Moon Roots). We picked 8 of our most popular spreads and dips (that’s Hungarian cheddar spread in the picture). In Whole Foods, we imagine either:

-A bar featuring locally sourced vegetables and dips, where you could assemble the cups yourselves
-A select number of the cups, pre-packed and delivered to Whole Foods every day

2

Communicating with environment

IMG_1991

Early on I set a course of transparency for Clover.

In 2008 this mattered to a few customers. Now in 2014 it matters to more of you. I think in 2020, when Clover is sweeping the nation, I think folks simply aren’t going to tolerate opaque food systems. In my view this world of smoke and mirrors that has dominated food for so many years is an old world, eroding before our eyes. If Clover can have a role in accelerating that erosion I will be proud.

Food has always been and still is cultural. But it used to connect people. In a deep way. You grew food with friends and family. You traded food with those you depended upon. You shared meals with those you loved. Roll the clock back 100 years and almost everybody in this country knew exactly where their food came from. And no, they weren’t hipsters.

I think that transparency in food, being able to see what is going on, is intimately related to the ability for food to connect people.

We thought from the beginning that the environment at Clover should reflect our values. The expression of that has evolved over the past few years, sometimes in surprising ways. We stumbled into window painting. And then we started finding these awesome shadows that are cast by our logo. I’ve started snapping pictures whenever I see this type of thing. Here’s one from Kendall. It’s beautiful, right? The sunlight is blasting right through Clover into our restaurant.

Have you noticed other aspects of our restaurant design that reinforce transparency? Anything you think we should do more of?

0