Sustainable Food News: Elm Makes Esquire’s Top 20 Restaurants List, Non-GMO Month & Fair Trade Month

By Analiese Paik

Elm's brioche on a spoon, with a surprise inside.

There were great expectations for Chef Brian Lewis’ restaurant, Elm, when it opened in March of this year in New Canaan. Those of us who find occasion to dine there will agree that they’ve raised the bar to the level of NYC, minus the sides of attitude and pretense. The space is modern and comfortable, service professional and warm, and food always a rewarding gastronomic adventure. Chef Lewis works magic with vegetables, many of which are sourced from Millstone Farm in Wilton where his staff works in return for organic produce. So it comes as no surprise that Esquire Magazine has named Elm one of the Top New Restaurants of 2012. This well-deserved accolade is bestowed on only 20 American restaurant, so we congratulate Chef Lewis and his team on this affirmation of their top-quality work. Read our feature story about Elm.

Look for processed foods with this seal to avoid eating GMOs. Fact: GMOs have not been tested for safety in humans, animals or the environment.

The Non-GMO Project is inviting consumers and businesses to celebrate Non-GMO Month to raise awareness about the issues surrounding GMO foods. I’ve written many times about this topic, so this is just a reminder that genetically modified foods are found in most processed foods (and many whole foods too) and the best way to avoid them is to choose Certified Organic or Non-GMO Project Verified. Look for the seal on bags and boxes, even on Certified Organic foods. If you’re new to the issue, or would like a refresher, view this video from Institute for Responsible Technology founder Jeffrey Smith’s March 2, 2012 talk at the state capitol during an Environmental Committee news conference about GMOs and our right to know what we’re putting in our bodies.

In honor of Fair Trade Month, we’re asking our readers to choose ethically by limiting purchases to Fair Trade certified coffee and chocolate. Choices abound, in both categories, and we’ve made buying a cup of Fair Trade coffee a snap with our Guide to a Sustainable Cup o’ Joe. Chocolate that is labeled Fair Trade or Direct Trade is available at Whole Foods Markets and other retailers. Brands like Theo Chocolate stand out for their commitment to sustainability; their products are Certified Organic, Non-GMO Project Verified and Fair Trade Certified.

Theo's gift box containing both the ghost chile caramels and Washington State collection, two of my favorites.

My family and I toured Theo’s factory in Seattle, WA over the summer -the first organic and Fair Trade factory in the US – and were impressed with their dedication to creating an artisan product using ethical and sustainable practices, small batch production, local sourcing, and continuous product innovation. Don’t miss their Sofi Silver Award-winning Ghost Chile Salted Caramels and Taste of Washington Caramel Collection, both handmade in The Confection Room.

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