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Regenerative Dining and Sustainability Services Increase In Restaurants

Updated: Feb 12


Photo Source: Wix


Many restaurants in the United States practice sustainable and regenerative dining. They use products from local farms and ranches that raise crops, fruit, dairy, and animals using the principles of regenerative farming. Restaurants that have organic entrees, use seasonal produce, and farm to table restaurants all fall into this category. Some restaurants have more sustainable practices than others. Support the restaurants in your community that practice sustainable dining.



Restaurants That Excel in Sustainable Practices


Photo Source: Wix Media- Inside a Greenhouse

Blue Hill At Stone Barns Hudson Valley


Blue Hill at Stone Barn located in the Hudson Valley NY, in Pocantico Hills practices sustainability. The use bone ash china to serve meals and turn kitchen scraps into charcoal. They raise fresh vegetables and herbs raised in their greenhouse and from their farm.


They work with 64 local farms that provide organic produce, meat, and poultry. The restaurant works with day boat fisherman on Long Island and purchase fresh fish weekly. They strive to use organic products as much as possible.


The serve only grass-fed beef and dairy products. About 30% of their menu for winter is purchased in October. They give no interest loans to local farmers to help them pay their bills in January. They use local organic grains to make bread for the restaurant.


The restaurant has food bins for food waste to make compost, ferment scraps of produce, and to feed the pigs. Corn cobs are ground up to add to soil to grow oyster mushrooms. The help farmers identify and grow cover crops that can be used in a restaurant menu. The carbonize leftover bones and use them for grilling.



Organic Produce: Photo Source Thiss Sam Smith


Fork In Philadelphia


Fork is a restaurant in Philadelphia that is a leader in sustainable practices. Their purchasing manager Ana Caballero focuses on working with local farmers and suppliers and eliminating food waste. She says that having a purchasing manager helps the restaurant to organize purchases and reduce food waste,


She says they are often very busy in a large restaurants with several employees and the chefs do not always have time to stay on top or ordering and food waste. She orders certain days of the week using local farmers to supplies delivered Organizing and coordinating the order is a big part of the job.


When orders come in she checks them out, send back orders if needed, and calls the vendor with any problems. The investment in having a purchasing agent improves sustainability. One of the most important issues when working with local producers is to build good relationships. Sustainability is about relationships with local farmers and producers.


The restaurant pickles and ferments vegetable when there are too many. The trash gets picked up daily but the compost not as often. The have a machine called a biodigester that turns food waste into waste water. This machine can only process small amounts produce at a time. It squirts a solution the turn the waste in water.


The biodigester eliminates odors and putting all waste into the trash. The gray water can be thrown down the drain. It makes handling waste on site more effective. Fork provides staff with a meal daily and this helps use up extra food and has led to less food waste. They check the freezers often and try to use food products that expire quickly.



Regenerative Farming: Source Geograph Org.


Eden in Chicago


Eden located in Chicago has a greenhouse onsite kept at 86 degrees and has insulated panels to keep temperatures warm inside the greenhouse. They regulate temperatures and humidity with computers. Devon Quinn the owner spends a few hours each day caring for 46 types of vegetables, herbs, and flowers.


This restaurant has been at the forefront of sustainability in Chicago for 9 years. There two locations both have greenhouses. The restaurant composts, donates leftover food, grows its own produce, and uses it in recipes. The flowers in the greenhouses attract bees, butterflies, birds and pollinators.


The restaurant sustainability program involves composting, growing produce on site and using in cooking Their compost is picked up by a local service and delivered to organizations and businesses. Clear composting bins in the kitchen remind chefs that composting prevents food waste. They have a delivery food service that picks up leftover food and delivers it to non-profits and other organizations.


The chef goes to the local farm market and use local vendors to buy products. The serve soups, salads, vegan entrees, pasta, fish, beef, sandwiches, brunch, breads and desserts at this upscale restaurant



Meat, Fruit and Cheese Plate: Photo Source: Dude For Food Blog


Saltbox Kitchen in West Concord MA


The Saltbox Kitchen in Concord MA has its own kitchen and farm with 10 acres of land. It grows vegetables, raises chickens, lamb, eggs, flowers and ingredients to make beer. It has it own brewery where it makes beer for the restaurant. It is owned by Chef Ben Elliott


The staff cares for the greenhouse, bee hives, fields and animals raised on the farm. They use organic regenerative farming practices no synthetic herbicides or pesticides. The farm practices crop rotation, low or no till methods, cover crops, and animals raised in open field or pastures free to roam. The brewery uses hops and other ingredients raised on the farm to make beer.


After getting the farm up and running Chef Elliott started catering events and offering cooking classes at the farm. His plans evolved when he opened Saltbox Kitchen in West Concord MA a hub that had catering, a cafe, lunch counter and 15 seat cafe. They offer sustainable food and menu options.


The restaurant serves brunch, eggs, soup, sandwiches, salads, chicken, shrimp, soup, beef, cheese and meat plates, chicken tenders, daily special and desserts.


Photo Source Wix and One Community Global


How To Make Your Restaurant More Sustainable


  • Buy produce in season from local farms and suppliers. This will give entrees a fresh taste and cut down on the distance food must be shipped. Use farmers that practice regenerative or sustainable farming practices.

  • Find ways to reduce food waste by using leftovers for staff meals, pickling or brining vegetables, composting, and donating to local soup kitchens and food pantries.

  • Use services that pick-up compost and deliver it to businesses, farms, community gardens, or other organizations.

  • Use takeout containers that are eco-friendly and biodegradable instead of plastic.

  • Reduce water consumption with energy efficient appliances and low flow fixtures. Run the dishwasher only when full.

  • Train your staff in sustainable methods and encourage them to suggest ways to make your restaurant more sustainable.


Photo Source: Wix Media


References:


How Blue Hill At Stone Barn Keeps It Green, Michelin Guide Sustainable Gastronomy, August 2021


Earth Day How an on-site greenhouse turns this Chicago restaurant into a sustainability Eden, by Lisa Shames, Open Table, April 2023


Meet Ana Caballero, Fork’s Secret Weapon for Sustainability, by Alexandria Jones, Philly Magazine-Restaurants, May 2018


Saltbox Kitchen, 2024


The Most Sustainable Restaurants in the United States: How Restaurants Can Be More Sustainable by Tessa Zuluaga, Toast, 2024

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