WHERE THE FISH COMES FROM
Pacific Seafood in Clackamas, Oregon
THE VOLUME 4,500 pounds of steelhead trout per week are shipped to all locations.
THE CHALLENGE Seafood is a particularly big challenge for any conscientious food business: “It’s this big blue ocean that is unregulated,” Jammet says. Sweetgreen first chose farm-raised salmon from Chile, a popular fish that received a “good alternative” rating from California’s Monterey Bay Aquarium, a sustainability advocate. But two years ago, as scrutiny of the seafood industry and its rampant supply and labor problems mounted, Sweetgreen started looking for a domestic source of fish.
THE SOLUTION Pacific Seafood’s farmed steelhead trout is native to the Pacific Northwest and looks a lot like salmon; Monterey Bay considers it a “best choice” for the environment (though some critics caution that farms use too much fish meal to be truly sustainable). Sweetgreen pitched the less-familiar steelhead to customers as “salmon’s sexy, more sustainable cousin.” As Jammet says, “There are all of these regional species that we should be eating.”
THE PAYOFF For 76-year-old Pacific Seafood, which also supplies large grocery chains such as Kroger, Sweetgreen is a smaller but important customer. “They have 70-some restaurants and their growth is aggressive,” says Craig Appleyard, who manages Pacific Seafood’s salmon and steelhead operations. “They’re the future—the kind of company we want to work with.”
Steelhead trout raised at one of Pacific Seafood’s farms, in Nespelem, Washington, are readied for transport.