Back in the winter of 2015, Ryan and Emily Groll, a husband and wife passionate about healthy living and each with a background in nutrition, were asked by a friend, Gary, to help him on his journey to better eating. Due to a busy schedule, Gary was left with no time to cook, so the couple made and packaged meals to get him through the week without having to turn to fast food or unhealthy snacking. After the week, however, he was so pleased with the meals that he asked the Grolls to continue cooking for him and, not only for him, but now for relatives and neighbors. This sparked an idea that would soon become much more.
After cooking for several months and meeting local farmers, it was in January 2016 when Ryan and Emily realized they had a very unique opportunity. Without the resources to own or rent a restaurant, they needed a solution for a commercial kitchen. By March, they had designed and built a food truck which they placed at their home. Naming the operation “Eat Sprout” after their daughter, one-year-old Ellie who was nicknamed “Sprout,” the pair began cooking, packaging, and delivering food. Shortly after this, the Grolls launched a website to assist customers in online ordering as well as to showcase the local farmers from which their ingredients were sourced.
Sprout continued to grow. Sourcing from only two farmers at this time and having sold 1,000 meals, the couple sold their personal vehicle and traded it for a delivery van. As Sprout grew, Ryan and Emily decided that they would need extra hands and hired their first employee, Jazming. By the beginning of 2017, their list of farmers had grown as well as their employees. Their food truck had begun to get crowded so the next step was a tiny addition for a prep and storage area. The Grolls were seeing their idea transform into a successful small business before their eyes. Soon, they upgraded once again, buying another delivery van and hiring even more employees. By this time, Sprout was happily sourcing their ingredients from 20 local farmers.
2018 was a big year for Sprout. In May, the Grolls, with help from amazing staff and locals, built a large production kitchen in Easton. By September, they were finally ready to open their first retail café. Now, with the help of 12 amazing Sprout staff members and many more local farmers, the doors were opened to the community, offering them delicious, ready-to-eat meals and delivering to pick-up locations from Salisbury to Severna Park.
Ryan and Emily continued to contribute to the cooking, packaging, and selling of their products, all the while doing what they love and getting to know the members of their community. Ryan and Emily are thankful to have launched Sprout in such a beautiful community, helping make it a better place to live (and eat). Since the company began, they have donated over 5,000 meals to those in need in Talbot County and they don’t plan on stopping there. In-house cooking demos with kids, visits to schools, community event participation and corporate nutrition seminars are just a few of the ways this young company is encouraging healthy, local and unique eating options.
By April 2019, they had cooked and delivered over 100,000 meals, launched a “Farmers Appreciation Day” at their Easton location to bridge the gap between their customers and farmers, helping those that shop at Sprout to learn more about where their food comes from. With their success in Easton, the Grolls decided it was time to take the next step and opened a new location in St. Michaels. Opened in October, the Sprout Café and Bakery allows customers to enjoy healthy, nutritionist-designed meals on-the-go or in the cafe. With lots of seating, a full coffee bar and a variety of organic baked goods and snacks, along with the meals guests know and love, the St. Michaels Sprout Café is the perfect place to sit down, enjoy good food and meet great people. Jazming, the original Sprout employee, is now the operation director in St. Michaels. Don’t worry, Sprout in Easton isn’t going anywhere and neither is the delivery service. As they grow and expand, the entire Sprout crew is excited to welcome everyone to stop in or visit EatSprout.com to see how easy it is to Order. Eat. Thrive.
Sprout St. Michaels: 114 South Talbot Street
Sprout Easton: 335 North Aurora Street
BOTH locations are open every day.