What and where we eat plays a crucial role our carbon footprints. Believe me, It can be exhausting trying to calculate the environmental impact of each meal. We created our sustainable restaurants list not only to give Seattelites a meal off from cooking, but a meal free of eco-guilt. Today, I treated myself to a guilt-free lunch at Homegrown in Redmond. I was thoroughly impressed with the food, service and sustainable practices.

Under the slogan “slow food, served fast,” Homegrown has 11 Seattle-area sandwich shops featuring locally sourced ingredients and 100% compostable serving materials. Its shops boast reclaimed and Forest Stewardship Council certified building materials, low-VOC paint, high-efficiency LED lighting, and no trash cans. Homegrown also donates a portion of its proceeds to environmental causes through 1% for the Planet.

This sustainable sandwich shop fills a much-needed niche in the food industry. There simply aren’t many healthy, sustainable options for people on the go. Think about it – if you have a half hour for lunch what are your options? Burger King? Taco Time? How many places in a half hour radius are sustainable, healthy and fast?

While these sustainable and charitable practices are commendable, at the end of the day Homegrown is a restaurant and the question that matters most is, “How was the food?”

Speedy, healthy, tasty and Homegrown

Homegrown’s menu is relatively small – as it should be when using only locally sourced ingredients. Vegan and vegetarian dishes comprise 7 of the 16 total items in the breakfast, bowls and sandwiches categories. The menu clearly flags items for allergens and dietary restrictions.

I ordered the Matcha Chicken Avacado bowl for takeout since Pippen was waiting in the car and I wanted to test their compostable packaging. The meal, without a drink or side, cost $11.95 or around $13.50 after taxes – comparable to a Qdoba burrito.

I could tell from half a dozen years of cooking experience that I came in just after the lunch rush. The staff was busy cleaning up and prepping more food. Nevertheless, they took the time to talk me through the menu and patiently take my order. No less than five minutes later my order was ready.

homegrown chicken avacado bowl
The Matcha Chicken Avacado bowl and the compostable takeout materials.

The Matcha Chicken Avacado bowl is essentially a salad; mixing together Mary’s free-range chicken, avocado, feta cheese, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, warm ancient grains (quinoa), farm greens, and basil lime matcha dressing. Even after a 20 minute drive home with Pippen begging for a bite, the meal was a pleasant surprise. The greens and tomatoes were crisp and fresh (I suspect they were grown at Homegrown Sprouting Farms in Woodinville), the avocado was perfectly ripe, the chicken and quinoa were still warm, and the plant-based dressing was creamy and zesty.

Good for the stomach and the soul

Not only was it fresh, balanced and tasty; I just felt good eating it. That’s not always the case especially when I’m eating something that took less than five minutes to prepare. I felt good knowing that I was eating whole grains, fruits and vegetables instead of processed junk. I felt good knowing the ingredients were grown locally instead of shipped across the country. Most important, I felt good that I was supporting a business that actually seems to care about my health.

Between the quality of the food and the comfort of knowing where it came from, my Matcha Chicken Avacado bowl was a damn good lunch. And, for the cherry on top, shortly after my food was gone so was the packaging; into my yard waste bin and on its way to be composted and returned to the Earth.

Homegrown is Emeraldology Approved. I would happily return and be proud to bring friends and family to eat there.

Homegrown compost
All of my takeout materials were compostable and ended up in my yard waste bin.

Photos by Sam Wigness – Emeraldology.