May 18, 2012

I lied…

The other day I found this. Yeah, check that label. Not that there is anything wrong with MI or GA, but these carrots are definitely not from New England, and what’s worse, they’re definitely NOT organic.

Why is this a problem? Well, for one I found this days after I posted the recent post on organic stuff at Clover, the first time we’d officially talked about our extensive organic program since 2008. Worse, it means we’re not making you the best tasting carrots. Rolando and I learned really early that carrots were one of the vegetables most sensitive to the soil in which they are grown. A carrot grown in beautiful soil is sweet and full of flavor. But you can find plenty of examples out there of the opposite. Tony, of Russo’s, calls the carrots in this bag here “horse carrots.” Nothing to slight horses, but they’re just huge and not tasty. In the early days I used to go from one Trader Joes to the other cleaning them out of organic carrots at $1.04/ lb. Then we found Tony could buy us organic carrots and we started buying those for $1.15/ lb. Then we found organic carrots from Rhode Island, this is when I wasn’t the one doing the ordering, so I don’t know the price. And I thought those were the carrots we were using until I found these the other day.

That’s not all. I pulled Eddie (KIT manager), Chris (OPS, Store manager), and Rolando (Chef) for an impromptu meeting. We went through everything in detail and found a few other items have been getting substituted away from the intended item. The list includes:

  • Eggs, most have been Chip-In-Farm (what we want), but Russo’s been substituting “Loose Brown Eggs” occasionally and we’ve been buying eggs from Farm Fresh RI
  • Flour, we’ve been using King Arthur All Purpose Flour (which is what we want), but not the organic version. Looking in to fixing that. All whole wheat flour (e.g., Muffins) has been organic
  • We’ve been getting “Baby Spinach” instead of the young local spinach we want
  • We’ve been getting parsnips from RI that are last fall’s parsnips, not the spring parsnips we want. That’s part of why we’ve been having problems with the parsnip sandwich
  • Our half-and-half is not organic. Apparently this is an issue with supply. Russo’s can get us organic milk but cannot get us organic half-and-half. Something about Hood having a monopoly on that in MA.

So we’re working on these things. I’m hoping all it takes is for us to follow-up on these specific items and get Eddie (Kitchen Manager) better context so he understands why we spec certain ingredients and which substitutes are not acceptable.

A big sorry to you all. If I’d double checked all of this before posting we could have avoided this mistake. I’ll get back to you in a couple of weeks and let you know which of these we’ve been able to fix.

Recent Posts

May 24, 2023
I recently learned that garlic has 4 stages that it goes through on its journey to become the cured stuff you’re probably used to seeing. This year I learned about Green Garlic. It’s the mild, sweet, un-cured bulb, plus the fresh green shoots. We got our hands on a super limited crop from Red Fire out in Granby, and so we decided to see if we could incorporate it into every single different type of box we make next week…
May 23, 2023
We’ve intentionally steered clear of bowls for a long time. If you see Ayr tomorrow, ask him why : ) Tomorrow (5/24) we’re starting a 2-week test of bowls at CloverNTV, our restaurant in Newtonville. If it goes well, this could represent the beginning of one of the bigger changes our menu has EVER seen. We’re hoping we’ve cracked the code to bowls that are seasonal, carefully-composed, easy to carry, and craveable – all the things we love about bowls, and none of the things we don’t.
May 18, 2023
I used to eat Cheesy Grits almost every morning, and if you were eating with us around 2017, I bet you did too. We took our Plimoth-ground-grits off the menu for a little while, but now they’re back at all locations (except for the HUB for the time being). Stop in for breakfast during the next 2 weeks – we’re aiming for these to be hot and ready at 8am and we’ll be selling them til they’re out. The staff has been waking up extra early and adding a lot of extra whisking to their mornings, so we’d love to hear what you think. If you’ve never had our Cheesy Grits before, here are some things you should know….
May 16, 2023
What is Chris eating? When we toured the field at Siena, the crew was planting dahlia tubers. They get planted in warm soil, will grow all summer and will be ready for harvest in the fall. They reminded us of sunchokes, so we got to talking about whether the tubers are edible and it turns out they are! Are they delicious?
May 15, 2023
Do you want a beautiful box of produce for a fraction of what you’d pay in the grocery store? Do you want to invest in a farm’s success and be with them throughout the harvest season? Do you think you hate eggplants but you’ve just never had a good one? It might be time to look into a CSA (or farmshare).
May 5, 2023
I remember exactly the moment we started celebrating May the 4th (“May the Force” be with you). We were on a planning call about meal boxes and we were talking about how we were going to launch our Taco Tuesday program on Cinco de Mayo (May the 5th). Chris accidentally said “May the 4th” and Ayr said, “May the 4th! We should do a Star Wars Box!”
April 24, 2023
If you’ve been reading for a while you probably know we hate waste. Most of the time, minimizing waste is pretty unglamorous, but every once in a while our mission to reduce waste takes us to some very cool places. I look after Clover’s grocery marketplaces (including our Assembly Row grocery store). A few months ago I noticed that the marketplaces were going through a lot of our paper bags. They’re compostable, which is great. But I think the best bag is one you can use over and over again.
April 22, 2023
Few people know that Clover is environmental activism. This is by design.  And it works. We do these customer surveys and see that 9 out of 10 Clover customers are NOT vegetarian. Yet I’m constantly troubled by conflicting feelings about the approach we’ve taken.
April 10, 2023
Over the next 3 weeks, on a rolling schedule, most Clovers are going to be giving out a free hot or cold George Howell Montecarlos coffee to anyone who stops in between opening and 11 am. No strings— we just want to see you all and talk about coffee!! George Howell’s Montecarlos is a single-origin coffee we love for our pour-overs…
March 30, 2023
Each year, early spring is a busy time at the Clover kitchen because we have 2 of our tastiest boxes, usually back-to-back. For the Passover box, a lot of care goes into the kashering of the kitchen, with Rabbi Dolinger coming in to ensure the box is totally Kosher for Passover via Lighthouse Kosher.
March 15, 2023
That photo is corn fritters drizzled with maple syrup. We just started frying them up for a 2pm special – and they’re an element of our Maple Meal Box. If you head away from the city this time of year, you’ll see signs for sugar shacks, where maple sap gets boiled down into syrup and little restaurants pop up to serve pancakes, corn fritters, cider donuts, and dill pickles (to cut through the sweetness of the fresh syrup).
February 28, 2023
You’ve been asking! And finally we can announce: sunchokes are here, starting tomorrow, 3/1. Thanks to Pete’s Greens in VT for getting us local sunchokes. At breakfast we’ll be making The Sunchoke Truffle: fluffy house-baked pita, creamy truffled butter, caramelized onions, a 6.5 minute egg, and thin, crispy sunchoke slices. At lunch and dinner: The Sunchoke Mushroom: scallion-black-pepper mayo, fresh arugula, roasted crimini mushrooms, fried brined onions, and roasted sunchokes. But what IS a sunchoke?