Oakland’s vegan doughnut shop and cafe, Donut Farm (née Pepples Donut Farm), has provided its popular dairy-free raised doughnuts since 2006. On the savory side, tofu scrambles, meatless carne asada, soy chikkin, and tempeh have been staples at the cafe on San Pablo Avenue for breakfast and lunch. Now, it’s wading into the vegan craze that’s been making headlines: vegan sausage rolls.
Owner Josh Levine, a long-time vegan, says he came across the item at the Natural Products West Expo in Anaheim earlier in March. He’d already seen their flaky, meatless images splashed all over the news and social media feeds, largely stoked by an incident in which Piers Morgan consumed one on air and then spit it into a trashcan, calling it “gastronomic appropriation,” and lashing out on Twitter. Meanwhile, sales for the product, made by U.K. bakery Greggs, skyrocketed.
“It’s strangely addictive,” says Levine. “I just wanted to try it because I’ve heard so much, and tried it and I needed to go back and have it again. It’s just yummy. slightly sweet sausage on the inside, flaky crust on the outside.”
The item itself is nothing new, however. According to Eater London, sausage rolls are a classic British food: “Usually a more finely ground pork meat, seasoned with herbs, and wrapped — ends open — with puff pastry. Both are extremely well suited to either a strong English mustard or piccalilli pickle.” Vegan options of the popular snack have long been available in the U.K.
Meanwhile, in America, brands like Beyond Meat, Impossible Foods, and Hampton Creek have grown in popularity, offering vegan versions of everything from hamburger patties to mayonnaise.
“They made something popular accessible for us, vegans,” says Levine. “It’s not even really reminiscent of meat, necessarily, it’s just delicious.”
The version that Levine will sell is not from Greggs, but from an Australian company called Fry Family Foods, which has offered the product since last fall. He was able to procure a limited amount, which he’ll bake offer both for dining in or takeout, starting at 10 a.m. on Friday, March 15, while supplies last. (For now, it’s only available at Donut Farm in Oakland, not at the Berkeley or SF Ferry Building locations.)