Earth-friendly dining is the norm in Seaside by Laura Holloway
Mother Earth — that faithful maternal figure that continuously gives life to our everyday surroundings, provides clear ocean waters, colorful blossoms, green leaves, and crisp breezes. But in recent years, more attention has been paid to the damage we, as a human population, are doing to our dear Mother E. As more signs of our destructive impact come to light, responsible citizens of this earth have started implementing daily habits in their personal and professional lives that make a difference in the condition of our environment. The 30A area has taken up that torch, and Seaside’s strong stance in this effort is evident in the daily practices of thoughtful business owners and merchants, specifically in the arena of the town’s restaurants.
Jim Shirley’s Seaside restaurants, Great Southern Cafe, Meltdown on 30A and 45 Central have incorporated many different earth-friendly tactics. In a vacation town, ‘to-go’ meals are the norm, and these restaurants utilize Genpak Sustainable Harvest Fiber to-go boxes, which have zero impact on the environment. Styrofoam? One of our environment’s worst enemies; truly just a landfill filler. Genpak’s Harvest Fiber products are 100 percent natural and fully compostable, meaning they will eventually return to the earth in a natural way. Great Southern and 45 Central also source many of their products from local farmers and vendors, which cuts down on harmful packaging and dangerous emissions produced through the transport of goods from non-local sources. Some of the eateries’ local vendors and foods include Greenman’s Garden, Covey Rise Farms, Water Street, Destin Ice, Ocheesee Dairy and shrimp and oysters fresh out of the gulf. Using local food vendors not only helps the environment, it also strengthens the community and encourages the continued growth and success of these types of merchants.
Dave Rauschkolb’s Seaside restaurants, Bud & Alleys, Pizza Bar, and Taco Bar, have been at the forefront of the sustainable movement in the 30A area and continue to encourage other businesses to do the same. Nearly all of the restaurants’ fresh vegetables are sourced from regional farmers and growers, and all of the fish on the menu come from the gulf. These restaurants use only paper straws, to-go containers and bags, and they use only products that come from glass containers. That’s zero plastic, which makes a big impact on the environment. In fact, this was the first restaurant group on 30A to make this switch, and luckily many other places have followed suit. The food and food containers are not the only earth-friendly attributes found in Rauschkolb’s restaurants; even some of the seating options are eco-friendly. For example, the EMECO chairs at Pizza Bar are made entirely from recycled coke bottles.
The Seaside Farmers Market is a testament to the local farmers and growers of our area, gathering each Saturday morning in Seaside’s Central Square to offer freshly-baked goods, regionally grown and harvested produce, locally raised meat and dairy products, fresh-caught fish, and other delicious offerings including fresh honey and salsas, tuna dip, pimento cheese dip and even homemade dog treats for the four-legged visitors of Seaside.
Many other eateries in Seaside have joined the cause of creating a more earth-friendly dining experience, including Modica Market, Amavida Coffee & Tea, and Raw & Juicy, incorporating environmentally-conscious packaging, Fair-Trade practices and certified Organic and locally-sourced ingredients and menu items when possible. If given the choice, will you decide on the option that helps protect and preserve our environment? Luckily for you, it’s easy to find those choices in Seaside.