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Concentration of CO2 in the Atmosphere

Dining in the Green

NECI on Main

Seasonal • Farm-Partners • Local • Sustainable
Tapas and a glass of red wine.

Tapas and a glass of red wine.

By N. R. Mallery

With our highlights on Montpelier’s goal as the first net-zero capital in the country, we thought it was fitting to include a Montpelier landmark for our dining in the green feature. In this exemplary city in Vermont you will easily find NECI on Main, located at 118 Main Street. NECI on Main is now a charter member of the Green Restaurants in the Green Mountain State (GRGM) advancing to the Environmental Leader designation by meeting eight core environmental standards.

NECI on Main has developed an Environmental Action Plan to minimize the environmental impacts of business operations, using many different practices to “green” their business.

For energy conservation, these include lighting upgrades, purchase of Energy Star appliances and refrigeration equipment, heating system upgrades, and improved weatherization. Water conservation methods include low-flow dishwashers, sinks, and toilets. Resource conservation and sustainability is achieved through bio-based dinner and to-go ware, buying locally sourced products, maximizing reuse and recycling, collection of plant materials and food waste for composting, and the use of green cleaners and post-consumer recycled paper products.

Students prepare daily specials at the action station of NECI on Main. Photos courtesy of NECI.

Students prepare daily specials at the action station of NECI on Main. Photos courtesy of NECI.

NECI on Main is an award-winning fine dining restaurant featuring locally grown, sustainable, farm-to-table fare. Some of the measures it has taken to achieve Green certification are composting more than five tons of kitchen prep and plated waste each month, totaling approximately 500 tons of compost since inception of the program. Philip Stevens, the digital content coordinator for the restaurant, described their policy more as being “chronic composters. ”

They recycle 600 pounds of plastic bottles and aluminum cans, and more than 1,000 pounds of cardboard each month. Incandescent light bulbs have been replaced with LED bulbs. They changed refrigeration motors to energy-efficient models, and installed two new induction cooktops, saving in excess of 7,500 kWH each year. Additionally, as a Vermont Fresh Network founding partner, NECI on Main is well proven in its local food movement, not only supporting Vermont farms but significantly reducing its carbon footprint.

NECI on Main is a production lab for New England Culinary Institute. The New England Culinary Institute was founded in 1980, and is widely recognized for its innovative immersion style of education featuring small classes, hands-on learning, and personal attention. Its graduates are sought after for their level of sk. ill and preparation.

Imagine the entire state of Vermont as a food experiment or as its own laboratory where food products are grown and created for this particular climate; seasonally, organically, and sustainably. For 30 years they have been teaching students to make connections with farmers, between the landscape and food, and between seasons and culinary traditions. Sometimes they include food items that express a particular sense of place from outside Vermont, or culinary traditions from other cultures, and use those items or experiences to enhance the foods grown here in Vermont. Their menu is no exception in this teaching philosophy, and reflects the best that Vermont’s farmers, and America’s next generation of young chefs have to offer.

Some of the locally sourced food that they prepare into their culinary wonders comes from Black River (Springfield, VT) for all of their meat, which comes from local farmers. Some of these farms even go so far as to grind the grain that feeds their animals. Other local vendors they partner with include King Arthur Flour, Vermont Creamery, and more. For more information about the New England Culinary Institute, or NECI on Main, go to www. neci. edu, or www. neci. dining. To have a look at their menus, go to www. neci. edu/neci-on-main/menus. They are open Sunday for a brunch buffet from 10 am to 2 pm. Tuesday through Saturday for lunch at 11:30 to 2 pm, for lite fare from 2:30 to 5:30 pm and for dinner from 5:30 to 9pm. Their number is 802. 223. 3188.

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