dining out

Dining out: Connecticut restaurants serving sustainable food

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Dining out sustainably is easier than you may think. Connecticut has over 50 restaurants that serve some type of sustainable fare.

These restaurants participate in the sustainable food movement to varying degrees. Some serve dishes made only of seasonal available food, while others serve only a few dishes made from sustainable ingredients.

Boxcar Cantina and Donovan’s Reef, both, shown in green on the map, are the state’s only two Green Restaurant Association certified restaurants.

Restaurants that are green certified met a number of requirements including water efficiency standards, waste reduction and recycling plans, sustainable furnishings and building materials, sustainable food, energy, disposables, chemical and pollution reduction.

Many of the restaurants on the Google map participate in Connecticut’s Farm to Chef program. Part of the Buy CT Grown program, Farm to Chef aims to connect Connecticut chefs with farmers and distributors of products grown throughout Connecticut.

Boulder Knoll Community Farm in Cheshire had its first official harvest season in 2009. In addition to growing food for 50 residents, farmer Brenda Caldwell worked with Caseus in New Haven to provide locally grown food for the restaurant.

“Caseus has been very conscious of food and local growers and they came to us during the planting season to ask if we could add a few crops for them, which we did.” Caldwell said. “It’s great to have restaurants in the area supporting local farms.”

Outstanding in the Field farm dinner

Caseus is part of a growing number of restaurants trying to promote sustainable food with ingredients from Connecticut farms. The restaurant’s website includes a featured guide of local sustainable products as well as recipes and information on cooking classes.

In addition to the many restaurants throughout the state offering sustainable food several Connecticut farms and chefs from local restaurants offer farm to table dinners during the summer harvest season. The dinners range from $75 to $259 a ticket and often include a tour of the farm, a multi-course dinner on the farm with wine parings, the chance to meet Connecticut farms and chefs, and the opportunity to learn about food is grown, produced, and cooked. Farms and or restaurants participating in these dinners are shown in yellow on the map.

The map was created through Google maps from data collected from the Eat Well Guide, Green Restaurant Association, CT Farm to Chef Program, and the author’s personal research and visits. The image is courtesy of Bill McDavid via flickr.

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