Both new and longtime customers are amazed when they learn that the wide assortment of freshly cooked, scratch made dishes that fill our deli and bakery cases are prepared at the store. Behind the scenes, the Harvest Market Kitchen works hard every day to bring you a seasonal selection of local and organic soups, salads, sandwiches, main dishes, and desserts. Even though the public can’t see the magic happen, the kitchen holds itself to the same high standards that customers rely on when shopping at Harvest Market.
As part of our ongoing efforts to improve sustainability initiatives store-wide, our Harvest Market Kitchen recently received 3-Star Certification from the Green Restaurant Association (GRA). The GRA is a non-profit working to “shift the restaurant industry toward ecological sustainability” by working with food establishments to provide green solutions to production needs. Business practices are assessed according to science-based standards in the following categories: energy, water, waste, building, disposables, chemicals, food, and education and transparency.
We encourage you to take a look at our profile to see a detailed breakdown of how we scored initially. We’re particularly proud of the categories where we scored the most points: food and equipment.
From the beginning of the Harvest Market Kitchen, we have made every effort to serve option for every body, i.e., vegan and vegetarian food options peacefully co-existing alongside Paleo and Keto provisions. We want to support you at any and every point on your health journey, and if that means making the best darn chocolate chip cookie out there, gosh darn it, we are here for it! Prioritizing organic, fair trade, local and grass-fed products earned us points, but to us at Harvest Market, it’s second nature.
Long before Harvest Market completed the accreditation process, we reached out to the Green Restaurant Association to ask for advice prior to last year’s kitchen renovation. We wanted to make sure that all of the appliances and equipment installed and cleaning supplies used would comply with the rigorous environmental standards used by the GRA. Not only does this decrease waste, it also cuts costs and keeps us well ahead of environmental legislation. Case in point, since we have long used paper bags and given a reusable bag credit, we were unaffected by the plastic bag ban put in place this year in Delaware.
When it comes to water conservation, Harvest Market earned points for the native perennial gardens planted outside the store. Owner Bob Kleszics said that once the plants became established, the beds haven’t been watered once in the three years they have been planted. So not only are the gardens attractive to us and beneficial pollinators, they save hundreds of gallons of water each year in irrigation. Additionally, the GRA consultant was really impressed that an independent store like Harvest Market would run its own in-house composting operation to keep food scraps out of the landfill. [Click here to watch Bob talk about how to compost.]
Our Green Restaurant accreditation is just the beginning. We will continue to work with the GRA to make continued improvements and increase our overall rating. Look for store signage in the coming months advertising our certification and the steps we are taking to meet the specific sustainability standards. This is one more way that Harvest Market is striving to uphold its mission to create a rewarding and responsible experience for our employees and customers alike.