Q&A: Melissa and Brent Jenkins of Sprig

  • Photo by Tessa Berg
From the April 26, 2012 edition

In a better world, we would not have to fight the force field that pulls us toward the candy-and-other-tempting-snacks aisle at the grocery store. Maybe snacks — free of artificial ingredients and sourced from small producers you can’t always find on grocery shelves — would come right to the door. Melissa and Brent Jenkins are testing that very idea with their new snacks-by-subscription venture, Sprig, which will soon deliver boxes of good stuff to hungry people anywhere.

They talked about the virtues behind Sprig.

Melissa: There’s so many great products out there that people haven’t discovered that you wouldn’t normally go to the grocery store for. There are a lot of food producers who can’t get their names on the shelf, and they’re just such delicious foods.

Brent: We had a couple goals in mind. One was to eat better, one was to build local brands, and the other was to educate. By putting out there a food that people aren’t used to eating, right in someone’s living room without them having to make the effort to drive, we’ve taken a lot of the heavy lifting out of it. And every month it’ll be a different experience.

Melissa: I’m a dental professional. I’ve always been interested in teeth, and I love people’s smiles. One of the first things you look at are people’s eyes and their teeth. You can tell if a person’s healthy by their smile, and food is a big part of that.

Brent: There’s a couple of companies that are doing the same thing. For $10, you get makeup to your door monthly. I said, oh, I love that idea. Why can’t we do that with food? What about snacks? What about bringing the local scene of artisan producers to a larger market? Someone out of Athens, who will maybe never get her chocolate bars out to California? How can I help her do that? If I liked it, maybe they would like it. So that was the model.

Brent: It was about new beginnings. I started dissecting the words: new beginnings, starting fresh. And then I started relating everything to a plant of some sort. And the first thing that comes out of a plant when it starts growing is a sprig. OK, perfect. I like the name. It’s catchy. It’s easy to say.

Melissa: Our daughter’s favorite food is broccoli. When we ask her, “What’s your favorite food, broccoli or chocolate?” She’s like, broccoli. And then we say do you like broccoli or Jeni’s ice cream? And she says, Jeni’s, mom, of course.