Can fast food, with the typical burger and fries menu, ever be considered to be healthy? Since the 1960s we Americans have been eating more and more at places like McDonalds. In fact, many of the people who eat daily at fast food places no longer cook at home and believe they eat more cheaply than purchasing the whole food and preparing it.
When I mentioned I was driving to Vancouver, Washington to pick up Graham from his conference, one of my new local friends told me that Burgerville is a place to consider stopping for lunch as we drive through Newberg on the way back to McMinnville. I checked their website and was surprised to find that the sources for their food – their beef for their burgers, their chicken for the chicken dishes, the pork served as bacon and sausage, and more – are almost all local!
If healthy, quick food seems like an oxymoron, you haven’t been to Burgerville, a chain of 39 Pacific Northwest quick-service restaurants. Burgers here are made from pastured vegetarian-fed and antibiotic-free beef. The eggs on the breakfast biscuits are from cage-free hens that have never been treated with antibiotics. Salads offer mixed greens topped with smoked salmon and Oregon hazelnuts. Even desserts and sides rely on seasonal, local ingredients – blackberry milkshakes are only available in season, as are the hand-prepared buttermilk-battered onion rings made from Walla Walla sweet onions grown in Washington and Oregon.
Burgerville purchases wind power credits equal to 100 percent of their electricity use, recycles used canola oil into biodiesel, and offers its hourly employees an affordable $30-a-month health-care plan. As their sales increased, it is clear that conducting business sustainably is good business.
Because of the timing of the trip, I grabbed a breakfast “basket” instead of stopping for lunch. The sausage came from a farm that raises its animals without antibiotics and hormones in a humane environment. Orange juice from California. Buns baked in Portland. Potatoes from Washington. And more. The effort is to use local as much as possible and where the distance is needed, like the orange juice, the concept is to keep it as minimal as possible.
I support the company’s effort to support local farmers. Although I have made an effort over the past few years to eat less fast food because of how it is prepared, if I find myself on the road and need some food, at least now I have a option where I know I am getting real food and not pink slime.