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Last month, I had the opportunity to live out a vegan dream: touring the Field Roast vegan sausage factory in Seattle, Washington. It was an honor to see where some of my favorite meatless “meat” products were made, especially since the company is very supportive of Animal Outlook. They’re a long-time sponsor of our annual DC VegFest.
What is Field Roast? Established in 1997 by chef David Lee, Field Roast is a grain-based meat company that focuses on artisan, handmade creations. You may have seen some of their amazing products–such as the celebration roast or a variety of sausages–at Whole Foods Market, Wegmans, or other grocery stores both large and small. Field Roast makes all of its products by hand and distributes them nationwide. Since the factory is in Seattle, there’s a greater distribution on the West Coast. In fact, some products, like their incredible paté and chao “cheese” balls are only available locally.
Taking The Tour: Field Roast customized their factory with tours in mind. After buying a new building in 2008, they gave a tour to a writer from The Stranger, Seattle’s weekly alternative paper. Since then, Field Roast has opened up tours to the general public by appointment. And here’s the kicker: there’s a good chance that they’ll give you some free samples at the end of the tour.
My Tour: I arrived with a group of friends in the morning to meet our tour guides, Jennifer and Dean. Jennifer gave us hairnets (and beardnets) to put on. She walked us through a hallway with windows that let us look down into the processing rooms. She explained that an order that would be shipped out to west coast Costco stores was in the works. They had a machine mixing spices and chopped veggies with wheat gluten, a giant sausage hopper, and workers tying off tubes of the final product and packaging it all up.
On the surface, the Field Roast factory might look similar to any old sausage factory. In fact, they use much of the same equipment and machinery as a meat sausage factory. But that’s where the similarities end, because when you look inside the machines, Field Roast is 100 percent free of animal products–everything this company makes is vegan and packed with plenty of protein and flavor. Overall, one of the most impressive things about their operation is how much individual attention they give to creating each product: the roasts are all individually prepared and wrapped by hand.
We walked out with Field Roast sausages in hand, ready to cook them up at summer barbeques.
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I bought this by mistake, it was on sale, “maple apple breakfast SAUSAGE” it was awful. One bite and down the garbage disposal. Had to use air freshener to get the smell out of my kitchen.