Exclusive Investigative Report: Local Brussells (Spr)Outage

Scott McConnell, Clover employee, prepares Brussels sprouts for the Brussels sandwich, which will be offered for an extra week this month at Clover.
Scott McConnell, Clover employee, prepares Brussels sprouts for the Brussels sandwich, which will be offered for an extra week this month at Clover.

Warm, smoky, and cheesey with a little bit of crunch, the most popular sandwich at Clover, a local health-conscious restaurant chain, has a surprising hero.

Clover’s Brussels Sprout Sandwich, made with smoked cheddar and hazelnuts, is the eatery’s top-selling sandwich this time of year. Inspired by his lifelong love of the savory vegetable, Muir has been able to maintain Clover’s local commitment by buying the sprouts from regional farms. However, Clover recently posted on their company website that the sandwich’s run was coming to an end.

According to a blog post from last week,“Clover depleted our supply of local brussels. So with a heavy heart we must announce that we’re only going to have the Brussels Sprout Sandwich company-wide for another week (last day is [tomorrow] Wednesday 11/26).” Muir blamed the local shortage on the vegetable’s unsavory reputation and short growing season.

“We do things when the ingredients are in season and brussels sprouts have a short season,” Muir said. “It’s hard because people make fun of them all the time so literally the farmers stop growing them.”

Flyby wasn’t so ready to accept the facts without a comprehensive investigation. Muir said that Clover bought their Brussels Sprouts from Joe Czajkowski Farm in Hadley, Mass. I called up the farm and spoke with Mr. Joe Czajkowski himself, and he told me that in fact it has been a “magnificent” year for the sprout.

“We’re going to finish picking brussel sprouts in about a week or two,” Czajkowski said. “We have 15 acres of brussels sprouts and they were a nice crop and they sold very well but it’s not an easy crop to raise.”

Well, it seems like there are still sprouts left in the ground after all! Perhaps there was a mixup with Clover’s vegetable wholesale supplier? I got in contact with the Pioneer Valley Growers Association, who provides Clover with their brussels sprouts, to find out.

When informed that Czajkwoski’s farm still had some sprouts in the ground, Barrington admitted the possibility of a miscommunication, citing the fact that “the whole focus of the last two weeks has probably been more on Thanksgiving.”

Squash is great and all, but so is the brussels sprout sandwich! Was Clover deceiving its customers or was this all one great mix-up? When I told Clover’s Muir what I had learned, he said that the information came as a surprise.

“I’d been told that they were sending some brussels that weren’t from New England because they said they couldn’t get any more from Joe...we’ll tell them to fix that,” Muir said. “You might be responsible for the stay of execution.”

Looks like the brussels sprout sandwich has a chance at an extension thanks to this hard nosed journalist. You’re welcome, world.

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