May 18, 2012

I lied…

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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.

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