Blueberry buttermilk donuts

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Enzo wanted to celebrate the Barismo folks being in the house on Friday. He made our buttermilk donuts and made a blueberry glaze with the blueberries we’re getting from Hadley right now.

Chris and Pete of Barismo Roasters were by to talk about the Barismo coffee we’re serving right now from the Kochere region of Ethiopia.

If you joined at the coffee tasting, you got a pair of these donuts with your coffee. We’re going to be doing another coffee and donuts event with Barismo at Harvard Square on Friday morning. There are a few tickets still left, sign up here.

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Coffee and donuts this month with Barismo roasters

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We’re going to be hosting Barismo at CloverHSQ and CloverKND for a series of coffee tastings to celebrate an amazing new batch of Kochere from Ethiopia.  I heard Tracy and Enzo are making donuts for everyone who comes.

KND, Friday 8/22, 9:30am

HSQ, Friday, 8/29, 8am

That picture is of Clover staff touring Barismo’s new roasters. Barismo recently moved from a tiny facility in Arlington to a new space within Aeronaut Brewing in Somerville. It used to be an envelope factory back in the mid part of this century, and it’s huge. On one side of the room there were tons of bags of coffee, representing countless hours of sourcing, tasting at origin, dealing with customs agents. On one side was a beautiful refurbished coffee roaster. Pete was really excited about the fact that the gas line at this new facility is much stronger than at their old facility, and he can actually taste the difference in the final coffees.

Join us, tickets are going fast!

 

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Jalapeno soda

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I’ll admit more than a little skepticism about this one. Sometimes ideas come to our Food Development meetings that seem… well… ideas we’re not sure are going to work. But we taste everything. And sometimes I’m spectacularly wrong. The first time I remember this happening was with cinnamon lemonade. An employee wanted to make cinnamon lemonade. I thought that sounded awful, but said let’s just make sure we don’t make too much. It turned out to be a stroke of genius, or luck, or both. And we stumbled into this amazing territory of spice lemonades (star anise is one of my favorites).

Craig, of Clover KND, had this idea for Jalapeño soda. Those little peppers are starting to hit harvest. And if you’ve had a good fresh jalapeño you may have noticed that alongside the heat there’s a beautiful fruitiness.

This soda is a little hot, but not too much. And it has an awesome fruit quality. It’s really amazing. Showing at Clover Kendall and elsewhere soon. Thank Craig! and bring your crazy ideas by on Tuesdays, 3pm, at the HUB. Open to all.

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Join us for Food Dev

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Our Food Development meetings happen every Tuesday at 3pm at the HUB. They’re open to the public. You can sit in and listen and taste. Or you can bring a sample of something you think we should try. Next meeting is going to focus on ideas for summer salads that use all the produce we’re getting from farms right now (think tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, scallions, melons). We’re also going to taste the second iteration of a sandwich that Sharron, one of our kitchen employees, developed based on Indochinese food he grew up eating in India. And as always there’ll be new coffee and beer to try.

Email Lucia (info@cloverfastfood.com) if you want to join.

 

 

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Zero-Waste Catering Trial

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Ali (Clover catering manager) here. I think some folks who knew me as an environmental engineer might find it strange that I’m working in catering now. I grew up in Alaska where my mom was a park ranger, I worked in environmental engineering, and after a lot of soul (and internet!) searching, I eventually found my way to the food industry. I’ve always been fascinated by food and packaging and waste.

This spring, MIT chose Clover to pilot an idea they’ve been interested in for a while: Zero Waste Catering. I was really excited. Most catering produces lots of garbage. If you’ve ever been to a conference you might have eaten a bagged lunch with plastic wrap, forks, knives, spoons (many of which aren’t even touched). No one likes to see all that waste, but it’s really common.

MIT hired us to cater a 3-day, 300-employee celebration at the Media Lab, and challenged us to create zero waste. Our catering is already pretty low-waste, but we made a couple adjustments. We wrapped sandwiches with our butcher paper, set them up on racks, sent our salads in our reusable “third pan” containers, and loaded everything onto rolling carts.

SIDE NOTE: If you have experience in catering, and something like this excites you, I’m hiring for my replacement! I’m moving to become the account manager for our Whole Foods partnership, and we’re actively recruiting for the next Catering Manager. You can apply online through the Careers tab of this website.

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You can call it the Massimo

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Enzo wanted to create a sandwich that celebrates 3 ingredients that are in season at the same time: red peppers, summer squash, and cabbage.

We’re jokingly referring to it as the Massimo. That’s Enzo’s younger brother. And it’s true: the sandwich is the slightly healthier version of the Enzo sandwich you all might have loved this winter.

Sweet, tangy pepper relish with lots of coriander, two slices of Grafton 1-year cheddar, thick-cut summer squash, and a fresh cabbage slaw with lots of parsley. Almost 100 percent of the ingredients are locally sourced – from Next Barn Over, in Hadley, MA (a relationship we’ve been working on for several years). The Italian red peppers are from Next Barn Over, squash from Next Barn Over, cabbage (when we can) is from Next Barn Over. And the cheddar is from Grafton, VT.

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Arrivederci Panelle!

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The Panella is on its last days. You can get it today and tomorrow, and then it’s gone until this time next year.

It’s been a wild ride. We caused a stock-out of chickpea flour at Christina’s, where we buy our spices. We made a lot of people very happy. But we also screwed up the sandwich more than a few times. (Please, if you had a panella you didn’t love, reach out. We’ll make you right again.)

So what’s replacing the Panella? We’re moving to one of our simplest and most popular sandwiches of all time. Any guesses? First person w/right answer gets theirs free on Wednesday.

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NUTS AND BOLTS: Temperature monitoring

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You probably know we’ve had big plans for Clover since day 1. You may not know how critical technology is to our vision. I’m not exaggerating when I say that Clover just couldn’t exist 10 years ago. Not because eating plant-based is hot now and wasn’t then (thought that might be true to some extent) but because the way we build our food systems requires modern technology. It simply couldn’t be done without. Same with training, employee scheduling, communications, etc.

Almost a year ago I shared our recipe template, which is pretty great and open for all to use. Since then we’ve had a ton of people use that recipe template. And daily I have others ask me about what we do and what tools we use. Eric Moskowitz from the Boston Globe wrote a really detailed article about what we do with data at Clover that’s generated even more interest. So I thought it might be helpful if I share some more specifics on tools we love. Today: temperature monitoring. We’re working with a company that actually spun out from some technology developed at the Media Lab at MIT.

One of the most critical controls for food safety is temperature control. If you’re not in the business you may have to pause for a moment to really understand this. I know that before I started Clover it wasn’t anything I knew about. Rolando had to teach me. Because unlike your fridge at home that may get opened a few times a day, refrigeration in foodservice is in constant action. At home when you want to store something you just throw it in the fridge. In foodservice cooling is an active action you’re doing to the food. At the end of the day you need 2 data streams:

- Temperature of cooling devices (e.g.,. refrigerator)

- Temperature of food

The standard approach in the industry is to have a couple of thermometers in your refrigeration and, if you run a clean operation, record those temperatures periodically through the day. You use a small probe style thermometer to test food. And if you run clean you do this throughout the day and record the temperature to a clipboard.

We went searching last fall for an upgrade. I want real time temperature monitoring, accessible from anywhere, with full stored history. I also want that history to track each food item, but we’re not there yet. There’s a company that spun out from the MIT Media Lab called FreshTemp. They make these wireless temperature monitors that you can put in refrigerators to monitor the temperature. We’ve installed them in our restaurants, commissary, and trucks. It’s a new project for us and the company, FreshTemp, is still young and developing their product. But overall it has been awesome. They send you a text message if your temps are out of range. You can pull up full temperature history from the cloud. It’s great.

For now we use simple probe thermometers to temp food and we log the data into cloud-based reports. But FreshTemp is working on a wireless temperature probe that would support direct logging of item temperatures. Can’t wait.

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Why is it called Eggplant?

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You know what this is? White and light purple eggplant. It means we’re buying heirloom eggplant from Massachusetts farms. Eggplant is one of a few items we serve that’s not sourced locally. Normally it’s shipped to us from South America, sometimes California.

But every year around this time we get to enjoy eggplant that hasn’t made such a journey. And it turns out there are all types of eggplant. It comes in many shapes and sizes. If you look closely you’ll see 5 slices of white eggplant in this picture. All of a sudden the name “Egg” plant makes a lot more sense.

Chris reported to me this week that we’re over 85% locally sourced ingredients right now. That’s nuts. And while we normally focus more of the hard stuff (hitting 40% local in April), this time of year is undeniably exciting for us all. Shipments are rolling in from local farms and distributors of local products. And it’s all so beautiful and delicious. Enjoy while you can!

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