Finding eco-restaurants

Q. This winter I read Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma, and I’ve since been switching over to hormone/antibiotic-free beef and chicken, organic/local fruits and veggies, and even organic beers and wines. But it’s summer now, and the last thing I want to do is stand over a hot stove. I’ve got the dining-out bug—how can I find restaurants that take these health and environmental concerns into account? Oh, and I don’t live in California. – Diane, MI

A. We like Sustainable Table’s Eat Well Guide—an eco-restaurant finder and so much more. Just type in your zip code or city, select the number of miles you’re willing to drive to get to a sustainability focused restaurant (though if you select the “200 miles” option, the emissions from your drive might outweigh the pros of green eating), and click to see what’s in your area. The advanced search option even allows you to search by category (plain old restaurants, bakers, butchers, B&B’s, even personal chefs!), by product (beef, eggs, bison, lamb, etc.), or by production method (antibiotic-free, grass-fed, free-range, etc.). You may never cook again.

We punched in 48103 for you—a random Ann Arbor, MI zip code—and came up with 14 listings within five miles of the zone: two restaurants, one caterer, two farmers markets, one co-op, five eco stores, two butchers, and one baker (but no candlestick maker). Not too shabby, eh? The Guide provides addresses, phone numbers, and web sites for your listings, so you can check the place out online and make a reservation in a flash. Bon appetit, and please pass the tofurkey.

-         Tobin Hack

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