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Sustainable in Seattle

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i'm hoping the seattle chowhound community can help me with a project.

i'm compiling a list of restaurants in seattle that promote sustainability, ie, emphasize local ingredients and healthy relationships with local producers. i know most of the top-end restaurants pride themselves on sustainable sourcing, so i'm looking for places on the lower end of the scale. you know, those i'm-too-tired-to-cook-tonight, middle-of-the-week restaurants that complement (supplant?) everyday cooking.

it's all too easy these days for restaurants to don the "organic" label, so i'm not interested in supporting establishments that exploit that much-abused term. as many writers have pointed out, "organic" is now a co-opted concept which has lost most of its original meaning and spirit. steven shapin's recent new yorker article, "paradise lost," is a great overview of the literature: http://www.newyorker.com/critics/atla...

i'd like my list to be comprised of restaurants that care about their sources. so if you have any suggestions, please pass them on.


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  1. I'm not so sure about lower-end restaurants, but there are a lot of fantasic higher-end restaurants in Seattle that promote true sustainability and feature their sources on their menus. In particular, the Stumbling Goat comes to mind as does Lark. Seattle also has a group called Chef's Collaborative that focuses on promoting sustainable cuisine.

    1. I don't know if this applies to Seattle, but the Portland-area Grand Central Bakeries would probably qualify--I'm thinking of how last year they stopped putting tomatoes on their sandwiches when they couldn't find a local source for them out of season.

      1. Not sure if it qualifies, but most of their menu uses organic ingredients. Blackbird Bistro is in West Seattle. http://www.blackbirdbistro.com/

        1 Reply
        1. re: MsFishpaw

          The Blackbird Bistro web site wasn't working the other day, but I checked today, and here's what it says:

          "OUR VENDORS: In support of NRDC and SEAWEB we buy only wild consciously caught seafood & avoid heavily fished species. Our produce is primarily from local Full Circle Farm we substitute with California organics when necessary."

        2. Ferrara on Vashon Island--Italian. They are trying to source as much from Vashon as they can.

          1. La Medusa (Italian) does a Wednesday 3 course menu ($25?) based on what they buy from the Columbia City Farmers' Market.

            1. Agua Verde does this to some extent - talk to them to find out details.

              You might want to get in touch with the local BALLE (Business Alliance for Local Living Economy) chapter http://www.balleseattle.org/ for some ideas.

              By the way, per the Grand Central comment: I had lunch there yesterday and they didn't have tomatoes based on the same argument - couldn't find a local source. However, I've been buying amazing tomatoes from a local farmer at the farmer's market for weeks now (Billy's - sells at U District and West Seattle). So I'm not sure how hard they actually look - they weren't interested when I said I'd be happy to connect them with a source.

              1. Not lower end by a longshot but The Herb Farm is a great bet.

                1. I would assume Cafe Flora would be a contender... I don't know the specifics, but they have always been very conscious of the community and doing good things for Seattle. Check 'em out, and report back.