Ready to grow:
Plant the Seed vegan sandwiches
By Steven Short
Vegan sandwich makers Jennifer McNeill and Hayley Roe originally started their delivery business Plant the Seed as a pop-up in Walthamstow last July. Finding themselves furloughed and facing unemployment – Jennifer from a job as marketing manager for a vegan restaurant and Hayley from a job as an office manager, “though I’m also a DJ and events organiser” – they decided to turn their love of vegan cooking into a business. “We’d talked about doing something together for a while,” says Jennifer, “and it felt like a good time. It was obvious we were going to lose our jobs, so we said we’d try the sandwich thing for three weeks to see how it went.”
Left to right: Fried ‘egg’ bap, Pastrami tofu, ‘Sausage’ chilli relish
An ethical vegan for years, Jennifer already had a social media presence and the couple (in business and in life) originally took orders via Instagram before setting up a website. Plant the Seed launched with three sandwiches, Eggless Mayo, MLT (smoky maple mushrooms, lettuce and tomato) and a tuna-esque Chickpea of the Sea, which all proved so popular that it was obvious that the business had legs. “The orders just kept coming, so we decided to keep going and see what happened,” remembers Hayley.
A move to the seaside
The couple had often talked about moving out of London and had always loved St Leonards-on-Sea and Hastings so, in January, decided to transfer their business to the coast. “We just thought that the sandwiches had been
so well received we could make them work here.” Oddly, Jennifer and Hayley think the pandemic actually gave them the push they needed to start working for themselves as they say, “We don’t know if we’d have been brave enough to take the plunge if we hadn’t lost our jobs.”
Plant the Seed are currently on hiatus from their Wednesday lunchtime delivery, but you can find them at Hastings Town Centre Market every Thursday and every second Saturday of the month, where they offer grilled sandwiches including a vegan sausage with vegan cheddar, red onion and chilli and tomato relish, and their pastrami-spiced rubbed tofu with vegan cheese, sweet pickle slices, slaw and Russian dressing. Jennifer and Hayley are also about to launch their ‘fried egg’ baps, featuring their secret recipe for vegan ‘runny yolks’. “We trialled them in London and we’re really excited to bring them here,” they say.
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