Have you ever wondered where your food comes from and how it's produced? Some store-bought items include food dyes, artificial sweeteners and preservatives. But now more than ever before, there's a shift in healthier eating habits, as almost half of U.S. consumers shop for organic foods and ingredients.
Marcy Miller, creator of Organic Sandwich Company, believes that we have to be more mindful of the food that fuels our bodies. Her Boulder, CO, farm-to-table restaurant specializes in providing fresh, local ingredients for sandwiches, soups and salads.
"The 'why' behind Organic Sandwich Company started when I began making baby food for my little guys," says Marcy. "I started reading many labels and learning more and more about how our food is produced. This scared me. Children’s bodies are tiny and cannot possibly process the additives, preservatives and chemicals in food. Also, children and adults have so many allergies and food issues today. Let’s get ourselves back to the basics. Let’s eat clean, healthy food. Let’s support our local farmers so they can farm season after season and offer us their bounty."
As Marcy describes it, "Organic Sandwich Company is a place that allows people to eat good, healthy, local food in a fast casual environment." Customers can choose from a number of menu options, including a Turkey & Bacon Jam sandwich, Roasted Beet & Goat Cheese salad and gluten-free treats.
A green tip from Marcy
In Marcy's home, the compost and recycling bins are twice as large as the garbage can. "Growing up in Boulder, my boys have learned how to recycle and compost and more importantly, why that's essential," she says. Composting has plenty of benefits, from enriching soil to reducing overall waste consumption. Her family saves food scraps and uses them in the backyard and the kitchen. "We compost for our garden, and it helps our plants thrive. I also keep a bag of scraps in the refrigerator for making vegetable broth. That is quite easy as well. Once you have enough to fill half a pot, fill the other half with water and let it simmer for 2 to 3 hours. You can freeze it or use it right away," explains Marcy.
We asked Marcy about her some of her favorite local ingredients, Organic Sandwich Company's green commitments and her leadership style.
What are some of your favorite ingredients to use in your sandwiches?
"We use pea shoots from local farmer Karim from Altan Alma Organics. The pea shoots continue to grow in our shop and we cut them to order for our sandwiches. Peter from Oxford Gardens brings us some of the best and spiciest arugula you have ever tasted. Brad from Das Pretzel makes the best darn pretzel bread around. Kristen from Etalia makes gluten-free demi baguettes that give people pause as they eat them, as customers are certain these baguettes could not possibly be gluten-free!"
How does your company support green initiatives?
"We are 95-plus percent organic. Organic food production is easier on our environment for many reasons. Organic farming maintains the ecology of the soil, promotes biodiversity and utilizes diversified crop rotation and water management practices. Strong, healthy soil allows plants to have deeper root systems and to become more pest- and drought-resistant. Organic farmers don't use harmful chemicals, as chemicals can not only harm the farmers themselves, but they're also absorbed into the food, the soil and the groundwater.
At Organic Sandwich Company, we divert 79 percent of our waste. In our dining room, you'll find one tiny garbage can next to our recycling and compost bins. We waste very little. All of our to-go ware is compostable. We use a water-saving sprayer in our kitchen. Our equipment is new and utilizes energy-saving technology. We use our vegetable peels to make vegetable stock and beef ends and au jus to make beef stock."
How has being a woman in business influenced your vision and leadership style?
"In the past I've had mostly women bosses and they were all very strong and intelligent. They were confident, not easily intimidated and wanted to help me succeed. I think these are admirable traits for any boss – man or woman. I try to emulate these leadership styles. I respect the people I work with, and I want to see them on my team for years to come. We have fun at work. There's no "I" in team, which you'll learn very fast in the kitchen if you didn’t know it already!"