J. Stephan Banchero III, University of Washington alumnus and Mercer Island native, is in the business of problem solving.
Problems like Puget Sound-area food waste filling up landfills. An over-farmed property with nutrient-depleted soil. Shut-down restaurants with surplus food and nowhere to sell it. Quarantined gardeners increasing demand for compost and soil.
Banchero’s third-generation, family-owned business has managed solid waste in the Puget Sound region since 1938, so problem-solving has been in the family decades.
In 1988 the company launched Cedar Grove, which ensures that our region’s yard waste and food scraps, from local residents and restaurants, are diverted from the landfill and locally manufactured into nutrient-rich compost.
“Then we heard about a 70-acre property in Redmond that had been over-farmed and had no nutrients left in the soil. And we thought — that’s perfect!” Banchero says. They tilled heaps of Cedar Grove compost into that soil, and Sound Sustainable Farms was born. Not only did the farm rejuvenate the land, it solved other problems for the community.
“We already had partnerships with local restaurants to collect their organics, and now we could return to them with certified-organic produce, custom grown just for them. It completed the cycle,” he says.
Then COVID-19 hit.
Sound Bites Delivers produce and restaurant favorites
In April, Cedar Grove went mobile, hand-delivering rich soils to homeowners in King, Pierce and Snohomish Counties.
“It was all hands on deck. The entire company delivered soils, including me. And once we knew we could handle deliveries we started working on Sound Bites,” Banchero says.
At Sound Bites Delivers homeowners can order organic produce from Sound Sustainable Farms and specialty items from their favorite restaurants, all at impressively affordable prices. The program is great for people looking to save time and money, and it’s also a great support for local restaurants.
“Sound Bites gave us a safe and easy way for guests who prefer to cook at home to enjoy the El Gaucho steaks they love. These are the exact same steaks that we serve in our restaurants,” says Chad Mackay, CEO, Fire & Vine Hospitality.
If you’re worried about cooking restaurant-quality meals at home, Mackay has some tips.
“The key to a true El Gaucho steak is our seasoning mix, also available from Sound Bites. Do it the Gaucho way and sprinkle our El Gaucho seasoning liberally over all sides of the steak before grilling it over a live fire just like we do in our restaurants. You can also cook your steak in a cast iron skillet on your stove and baste it with butter to let the seasonings and juices create a delicious pan sauce.”
Visit soundbitesdelivers.com to order organic produce, frozen proteins, restaurant items and extras like cinnamon rolls and coffee. Your produce will be picked fresh the morning it’s delivered, and you can rest easy knowing the small team at Sound Bites follows strict sanitary protocols. Want to save on delivery costs? Pick up your order at the farm, Monday to Saturday, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. at 1407 NE 124th St. in Redmond.