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Originally published Friday, August 8, 2008 at 12:00 AM


Retail Report

Sausages biggest sellers for vegan company, Field Roast

Field Roast Grain Meat, which makes gourmet vegan sausages, deli slices and other meat products, moved last month into the old Lucerne Dairy...

Seattle Times business reporters

Video | Meat made with wheat

Field Roast Grain Meat, which makes gourmet vegan sausages, deli slices and other meat products, moved last month into the old Lucerne Dairy building between the Central and International districts, almost tripling the amount of space it had at its old Georgetown factory.

The remodeled 13,000-square-foot building boasts a rich food history, beginning with Lucerne in the 1920s.

More recently, it was used by the Mascio family — which owns the building — to make Mascio's branded pasta and then polenta by Jerry Mascio's San Gennaro Foods.

David Lee, the founder of the nonprofit FareStart, launched Field Roast in 1997 after developing a teriyaki wrap for Essential Foods.

"I thought, for people who want a vegetarian food, why not apply the same quality standards you find in an artisan bakery?" said Lee, who is a vegetarian.

Field Roast products are made from wheat gluten mixed with fresh vegetables, garlic, spices and wine from Tefft Cellars in Yakima. They are boiled or steamed, which keeps them moist and juicy.

Grain meat sausages are Field Roast's biggest sellers. They come in three flavors — Italian, Mexican chipotle and smoked apple sage — and retail for about $5.49 for four sausages.

Field Roast's retail products are sold at roughly 450 stores, including Whole Foods nationwide and Safeway in the Northwest.

Restaurants, cafeterias and delis carry an even wider range of Field Roast products, including breaded cutlets, meatloaf and white truffle country pate.

FareStart's menu features the products, including Founder's Field Roast Sandwich (the founder being David Lee) and one of the only restaurant-made Reuben sandwiches that vegetarians can eat.

Lee says Field Roast sales are up 50 percent from a year ago and now total between $2 million and $3 million annually.

He insists on calling Field Roast products meat in an attempt to reclaim a word that is often used for animal muscle but also can apply to nut meats, coconut meat and — in Field Roast's case — grain and vegetable meat.

"We embrace our meat culture. Meat means solid food," Lee said.

He also likes that Field Roast was able to expand its space while staying in Seattle, where most of the company's 20 employees live.

"We're pleased with ourselves for not going to Kent," Lee said, where he laments a verdant landscape is being turned into business parks.

Lee started Field Roast with $10,000 from himself and his brother, Richard.

The next year, he raised about $400,000 from angel investors.

This year, he hopes to begin raising another $500,000 to $1 million and, over the next year, hire 10 to 15 more people.

"This market is huge and growing significantly," he said. "I see us as a definer of this category."

— Melissa Allison


Italian leather-goods purveyor Bottega Veneta plans to open its first Northwest store at The Bravern project in downtown Bellevue, joining a tenant roster that also includes Neiman Marcus, Jimmy Choo and Red Door Spa. About 305,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space at The Bravern is scheduled for completion in fall 2009. — AM

Pyramid Breweries is no longer a Seattle company, and its stock is no longer publicly traded. The beer company sold 85 percent of its shares last Friday night to Magic Hat Brewing Co. & Performing Arts Center of Vermont, Pyramid said in a regulatory filing this week. — MA

Indian Motorcycle Apparel began sales on the Internet this week at The Seattle firm was created a year ago by a London private-equity firm to develop a clothing line for the reintroduction of Indian motorcycles. The clothing line includes leather jackets for up to $2,500, T-shirts for more than $40 and jeans for $185. President Steve Miska said it also will be sold at Indian Motorcycle dealerships nationwide, as well as specialty stores such as Mario's downtown and Skookum on Queen Anne. — AM

Starbucks will pay Jim Alling, the former president of its international operations, a full year's salary ($600,000 last year), money to cover health insurance for a year and outplacement services worth up to $14,000. — MA

Costco Wholesale will post Food and Drug Administration advice about mercury in fish at seafood counters in stores nationwide. It joins other chains such as Kroger, Safeway and Supervalu in agreeing to post the advice, according to the ocean-conservation group Oceana. — MA

Trickwood, which sells clothing, shoes and accessories aimed at skateboarding enthusiasts, celebrates the opening of a second store in Ballard on Saturday with an art exhibit by TJ Cowgill, also known as Actual Pain. Trickwood opened its first store in Kirkland in 2002. — AM

Maveron, the Seattle venture-capital firm cofounded by Dan Levitan and Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, is leading a $16 million investment in Boulder-based NextFoods and its new GoodBelly brand of probiotic fruit drinks. GoodBelly is sold at 1,500 stores nationwide, including Whole Foods and grocery chains like Publix and Giant Eagle. — MA

Bellevue-based Eddie Bauer has hired longtime clothing-industry veteran Pirkko Karhunen as senior vice president of design. Most recently, Karhunen worked with Aeropostale on the development of a new product concept due to launch next year. She also has worked for Lilly Pulitzer, Land's End and Anne Klein. — AM

The Goodwill store in Maple Valley is closed for renovations after a fire Wednesday morning set off sprinklers that in turn caused extensive water damage. The store's 40 employees will remain with Goodwill while the renovations are done, and donations will still be accepted on site. — AM

Retail Report appears Fridays. Melissa Allison covers the food and beverage industry. She can be reached at 206-464-3312 or Amy Martinez covers goods, services and online retail. She can be reached at 206-464-2923 or

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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Retail Report is a look at the trends, issues and people who makeup the dynamic and versatile retail sector throughout the Puget Sound region. Every Friday with Melissa Allison and Amy Martinez. Send tips or comments to or

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