THE MEAT THAT MATTERS
DISCOVER WHY FIELD ROAST IS FOR ALL MEAT LOVERS – CARNIVORES & VEGETARIANS ALIKE
SEATTLE – If you haven’t heard of Seattle-based Field Roast, it’s time to take notice of the vegetarian category’s fastest growing company. The original grain meat company has been making artisan sausage, loaves, pâté and more – for more than 14 years – with a commitment to big, bold flavors and the simple tenets of good cooking.
“Our food enjoys a rich cultural and culinary heritage,” explains David Lee, owner and founder of Field Roast – though he prefers to be known first as a chef. “The use of wheat as a protein rich food dates back to 7th century Asia. And we draw on the European charcuterie tradition to create big, bold flavors.”
Field Roast’s artisan approach to vegetarian fare is long overdue in a category flooded with highly processed alternatives.
“There’s nothing ‘fake’ about grain meat,” says David. “We aren’t trying to mimic the flavor or texture of animal meat. We make real, vegetarian grain meat using simple cooking practices and high quality, all-natural ingredients.”
Field Roast appeals to all foodies. In fact, carnivores are credited for a large percentage of the company’s growth in the natural foods category. Field Roast sales exploded by 60% between January of 2009 and 2010. That’s more than twice the growth experienced by the next closest competitor, according to SPINS – the leading provider of information to the natural products industry.
“We don’t talk about being vegetarian, or a meat alternative, as much as just making really good food,” says David. “Meat, by definition, means ‘edible’ or the core of food. In our case, that’s wheat. It’s high in protein and nutrients and then we add things like lemon juice, fresh-cut vegetables and herbs for bold flavor profiles.”
A visit to Field Roast in downtown Seattle is proof positive. There are no freezers full of frozen veggies or palettes of food additives. What you will find are crates of vegetables delivered fresh-from-the-field every week. Walk-in refrigerators greet you with a waft of cool air, heavy with the scent of fresh garlic, fennel and sage. And dozens of people are busy hand-netting loaves, breading cutlets and packaging items for shipment.
Perhaps most surprising of all, there are windows. Not just to the outside world, but to every part of the cooking floor.
“There are no secrets about what we are doing,” says David. “We believe in the transparency of our cooking process. Giving people access to what we are doing helps educate and encourage others to know what goes into the foods they eat. It’s good for our business and we believe it’s good for the food industry as a whole.”
If you are looking for Field Roast, it’s available at natural food stores and an increasing number of mainstream grocery stores across the country. But don’t look in the freezer section. Most of the foods from Field Roast are found in the refrigerator section.
“Most stores put us by tofu and other non-animal products,” David explained. “Some day we’d like to see Field Roast in the meat section alongside beef, poultry or fish – just as soy milk is found next to cows milk. We realize it will take some time for people to see it that way. But we like to think meat, from any source, has equal rights to the dinner plate.”
With Field Roast experiencing consistent growth over the past 14 years, it’s safe to say more and more people share this point of view.