Being green doesn’t mean deprivation; in many ways making the effort to be greener yields rewards greater than the status quo can ever provide.
Take peaches as a perfect example. An east coast peach needs to ripen in transit, so it’s picked hard and unripe, boxed and shipped 1,500 miles to your grocery store. You must then select from an inferior pile of fruit, navigating between the still unripe and the bruised or spoiled, with minimal hope of finding even one that really tastes of peach.
Western Slope peaches, on the other hand, are picked ripe in Palisade or Fruita and driven 100 miles to a Front Range farmer’s market within a few days. The tree and the sun have had time to fatten them with succulent nectar, and you can’t walk by a box of them without their sweet perfume luring you back, nor can you bite into one without juice dripping down your hand.
It takes more effort to get to the farmers market or to take a weekend excursion to the Western Slope, both of which have a lower carbon footprint than cross-country train or truck transportation, but the effort is rewarded with unparalleled fruit.
As it is with fruit, so it is with restaurants: seek the green options and you will be rewarded. Here’s a list of restaurants featuring locally sourced, seasonal menus. If you know of one that isn’t on the list, please share!
1039 Pearl Street, Boulder, CO 80302
In their own words: “The Kitchen believes in protecting our environment. Wind power provides 100% of the restaurant’s electricity and we recycle or reuse nearly 100 percent of our discards. All of our paper products and straws are biodegradable. We give the remaining uncooked food and open bottles of wine to our staff at the end of each shift and all of our food discards are composted and often find their way back to the farms they came from.” Find an interactive map where you can explore a comprehensive list of suppliers and why The Kitchen chose them at http://thekitchencafe.com/artman2/publish/newsuppliers.shtml .
1710 29th Street Suite 1076#, Boulder, CO 80301
In their own words: “As a leading restaurant in Boulder, we are aware of our responsibility to research environmentally conscious methods of procuring all of the fine food we serve here at Laudisio. This includes using local ingredients whenever possible, and supporting ecologically sustainable businesses.”
2413 W 32nd Ave, Denver, CO 80211
In their own words: “Duo Restaurant offers a seasonal changing menu with the freshest ingredients available. Choose from a selection of appetizers or entrees that will satisfy the biggest meat eaters or the most discerning vegetarians. But as many food critics and guests note make sure you save room for dessert as Yasmin Lozada-Hissom, Duo’s wonderful pastry chef creates magical sweets to finish your meal.” Duo offers locally sourced ingredients as much as possible.
19192 Highway 8, Morrison, CO 80465
The Fort features game such as buffalo, elk, Colorado lamb, trout and quail. Featured in Bon Appetite magazine, the New York Times, and frequently touted as “the best place to take out of town guests” the Fort is world renowned for being an authentic Colorado experience. The Fort is registered on the National Register of Historic Places.
2199 California Street, Denver, CO 80205
A long-time Denver institution, the Mercury Café has it all. The Cafe features local, seasonal and organic ingredients as much as possible, local artists exhibit in the space and it runs on wind and sun power. Check the calendar for live music and dancing, theater, poetry readings, and classes.
Potager Restaurant and Wine Bar
1109 Ogden, Denver, CO 80218
Local is important enough to Chef Terri Rippeto that she built her restaurant with a kitchen garden growing on the patio. In fact, potager (POE-ta-jay) means kitchen garden. She changes Potager’s seasonal menu every month and seeks out local suppliers whenever possible. Eight months of the year 100% of the produce is from local, organic farms in the area.
2023 East Colfax Avenue, Denver, CO 80206
If SAME Café’s ingredients aren’t assuredly local, the café’s impact certainly is. “SAME Cafe is unique in the lack of a set menu as well as set prices. Daily selections are made using fresh, organic ingredients, and funded by the donations of patrons. Instead of a cash register, a donation box is available for one to pay what they felt their meal was worth, or to leave a little more and help out someone less fortunate. If a diner does not have sufficient money to leave, they are encouraged to exchange an hour of service.”
2262 Larimer St, Denver, CO 80205
In their own words: “Ever striding towards a fresher, more personal meal, our new menu is simply the best one eva’. We’re gathering local products from Denver Urban Gardens to create the Bounty Benedict; our in house made English Muffin provides a fresher Sandwich I Am; Steak & Eggs only like a Finer Diner could do.”
Published 08/21/2009 at http://www.ColoradoLovesGreen.com