Sustainable Salads: 4 Benefits of Local Sourcing with Sweetgreen
Sweetgreen believes in keeping it real. They believe what we eat, where it comes from, and how it is prepared has a direct impact on the health of eaters and the environment alike. By crafting a community around the idea that real food matters, sweetgreen is adding a new layer of consciousness to mealtimes all over Boston and beyond. Oh, and they just opened a sleek new location in The Fenway.
Founded by Nicolas Jammet, Jonathan Neman and Nathaniel Ru in 2007, sweetgreen has grown into a national brand with 48 locations, thanks to a strong food ethos, an embrace of passion and purpose, and investment in local communities. They’ve worked hard to build a company with passion and purpose—and they’re just getting started. We're absolutely psyched to welcome them to the neighborhood.
Speaking of the neighborhood, sweetgreen is known for adding local flourishes to their store designs depending on where they are. According to sweetgreen co-founder and co-CEO Jonathan Neman, "We like to incorporate elements that are unique to the location, be it a portrait of one of our local growers, a photo from an event in the community, or a clever nod to the neighborhood. At sweetgreen Fenway, the neon seasonal signage is a nod to the scoreboard at Fenway Park." And yeah, it's awesome.
The sweetgreen ethos stands atop four pillars—local sourcing, sustainability, scratch cooking and transparency—that influence their approach to everything on the menu. Today though, we’re focusing on just one pillar: local sourcing.
We asked the folks at sweetgreen about the benefits of using fresh ingredients from local farms and here's what they had to say.
1. "We can support local farms, especially small ones."
SG: "We work hard to build a supply network that sources from local farmers, which is a win-win-win for the community—the farmer has a guaranteed order from sweetgreen, we’re able to help support the local food economy, and you, our community will have access to fresh, local produce and healthy food. One great example of the power of local sourcing is our relationship with Jim Ward of Ward’s Berry Farm in Sharon, Massachusetts. On a visit to his farm last year, Jim was flush with Hubbard squash, a robust squash species native to New England. We were planning an Apples + Butternut Squash salad for the winter seasonal menu, and in talking with Jim, we realized that using Hubbard squash instead of Butternut Squash in Boston would create demand for Jim’s squash and support his farm, while also offering a more local item (a nod to our food ethos) and be a delicious source of pride for our Boston guests."
2. "The food tastes better, because it’s closer to where it was picked."
SG: "We believe food tastes best when it’s in season, and we source the best ingredients by cultivating real relationships with farmers who invest in soil health. We want our customers to eat what’s freshest and most nutritious at any given time, so the menu changes every season in every region—we’re just following Mother Nature’s lead. Local sourcing means you’re getting food that was in the ground 2 days ago—and fresher food just tastes better."
3. "The recipes are simpler."
SG: "In the kitchen, you’ll see us prepping real, whole food—a process we call ‘scratch cooking.’ Our fresh produce is prepared in-house every day, using whole fruits and vegetables delivered that morning. Local sourcing means we can serve farm-to-table ingredients simply prepared, as close to their natural state as possible, every day. Which means we don’t have to mess with any additives—we let the natural flavors shine through. Our recipes are simple, which makes them healthy, and they’re tasty because they’re so fresh."
4. "You start to connect food to health."
SG: "Everything you eat is a choice, and each choice impacts the food system, for better or worse. Healthy isn’t about calories or fat, it’s about making the right decisions for you, whether you’re gluten free, vegan, vegetarian, raw or omnivorous. Generally speaking, eating whole fruits and vegetables makes for a healthy diet, and it’s food that fuels. By locally sourcing our ingredients, the food is at its peak flavor and it’s kept in its fresh natural state during prep (save for some seasoning and roasting). There’s a huge difference between a tomato freshly picked off the vine and tomato in a can—and that’s no coincidence. Fresh-picked and local tastes better and you feel better. Connecting with food, the people who grow it, and how it makes you feel is a huge step toward a healthier food system."
Pro Tip: Sweetgreen's online ordering system is awesome, so feel free to log on, customize and skip the line!