The WastED Burger and More: The “Not-Festival” Food at Sweetlife

by Avery Morrison, special to Edible DC wasted_burger_edited

A true confession, I was there for the food. Sweetgreen's annual music festival, Sweetlife, took place last weekend at Merriweather Post Pavilion. True to the Sweetlife brand, the food available to concert goers focused on a blend of sustainable and healthy food creations from Sweetgreen salads, a "Chef’s Corner" with featuring DMV star chefs, food trucks, wonderful concessions and a marketplace. (Chaia Tacos was one of the concessions; their carrot taco is on the cover of our Spring 2015 issue.)


While the music lineup was exciting, the food lineup was out of this world and reinforced the message of sustainable and local, which meant sampling everything from DGS’ falafel wrap to Erik Bruner Yang’s bao to Sweetgreen’s local strawberries with Trickling Springs whipped cream. The best part about the food lineup, however, was the ideology behind it and how it played out.


Nick Jammet, a Sweetgreen co-founder, told me he was excited that the Sweetgreen festival could provide a platform for likeminded food industry people to come together to create food offerings that are local, seasonal and sustainable--way beyond the typical music festival fare like hot dogs and pretzels.

The sustainable star of the show was the wastED burger, made from vegetable pulp, with its re-purposed bun and ketchup made from bruised beets, using what most people would throw away as food waste to create something delicious. The chef shared the list of ingredients with me in the burger and the ketchup, which is impressive, since the vegetable pulps are things that most of us throw away after juicing:

Vegetable Pulp Burger
Carrot pulp - Beet pulp - Celery pulp - Beans - Almonds
Fermented Soy - Barley - Breadcrumbs - Cheese - Garlic
Eggs - Miso - Harissa - Worcestershire sauce
Bruised Beet Ketchup:
Roasted beets
Cranberry juice
Port wine
Creative juices were definitely flowing, whether it was the great music or the energy behind the fab food from passionate food artisans. For concert attendees who were paying attention to the message behind the great foods they were eating, festival food was a way to promote and reinforce messages about how we can all eat better, seasonally, locally and more sustainably.