ZUMBROTA — When growing vegetables as well as businesses, sometimes you have to deal with unexpected .... manure.
While unpleasant, such surprises can sometimes help fertilize growth.
Local eco entrepreneurs Dean and Jayne Bredlau started 2019 with an unexpected load. A billion-dollar salad and grain bowl restaurant chain called Sweetgreen Inc. sent them a "cease and desist" letter saying their business name of My Sweet Greens MN was too similar to theirs.
The Bredlaus grow and sell microgreens, a variety of small vegetable shoots, at area groceries and farmers markets. In the three years the small business has been in operation, their products have quickly grown in popularity. After learning they had no viable legal recourse to Sweetgreen Inc.'s claim, they started working on a new name and logo to represent their small farming operation.
They will introduce their new brand — The Greensted — at the local food expo called Feast! The Greensted will be one of many vendors at the annual food showcase on Dec. 7 at the Mayo Civic Center.
"It has been very expensive, but in the end, it makes better," said Jayne Bredlau of the process forced on them by Sweet Greens.
The Bredlaus wrote a letter to their customers this week to announce the new name. In the letter, they explained that while the legal attack blindsided them, they "embraced this as an opportunity to better reflect our company’s vision and expand our mission. The Greensted regenerative project stands for our professional commitment to living, farming and providing food grown and distributed with attention to our three-fold vision as reflected in the new logo."
Each of the three leaves of the new logo symbolizes a goal of Greensted.
* The blue leaf stands for "Sustain – to be here tomorrow. Every aspect of our business from sourcing materials and packaging to production and distribution is purposeful towards efficiency and sustainability."
* The red leaf stands for "Regenerate — to provide for a better tomorrow. We incorporate innovative practices to recycle, upcycle and/or compost production byproducts in an effort to re-purpose those, and regenerate our market garden soil."
* The green leaf represents "Connect. – Communities are here today, tomorrow and always. Providing fresh, local food promotes healthy people while creating a healthier, more connected community. Our mission is to invest in neighborhoods and cities through event participation, presenting educational opportunities and charitable contribution."
Despite the hassle this year of dealing with the Sweetgreen legal case, the Bredlaus have managed to increase production and expand their distribution sites. Greensted now produces more than 160 pounds of microgreens per month. They are sold at Hy-Vee groceries in Rochester, Winona, Faribault, Owatonna, Eagan, Lakeville and New Hope as well as other stores in Winona, Northfield, Hastings, St. Paul and Eagan. They also sell at regional farmers markets in Rochester, Northfield and Faribault.