Dana Cowin
August 01, 2008

Here’s my confession: even though I want to save the environment, there are some simple steps I haven’t taken. I haven’t, for instance, changed my incandescent lightbulbs to low-energy CFLs (compact fluorescent lightbulbs). I’ve torn out every article recommending the best bulbs; I’ve canvassed friends for their suggestions. But I just haven’t been able to make the switch, because I can’t stand the quality of the light. Knowing that compromise comes hard, we’ve filled this issue with fantastic ways to be green that don’t involve any compromise at all.

In “Eco Checklist: 15 Easy Ways to Live Better,” we offer options for everything from organic tequila to compostable plates—all items we’d love even if they weren’t eco-friendly. My first purchase from this group: the excellent Fleur de la Terre cheese from Traders Point Creamery. For a phenomenal cookout, we went to California’s Prather Ranch with chef Chris Cosentino, who grills unusual cuts of pasture-raised meat. Chris’s “caveman” bacon chop with salsa picante is out of this world. In the wake of the mysterious disappearance of honeybees and the crisis in commercial honey production, we asked cookbook author Susan Spungen to develop eight recipes that use honey from artisanal beekeepers. Try the baby back ribs in a sticky honey-tamarind sauce; if you think they’re too indulgent, remember you’re helping to save the bees.

As we all know, one of the easiest ways to be green is to support local farmers. If you’re already buying local, you might suffer from Vegetable Malaise Syndrome, caused by overloading on eggplants, peppers and other prolific summer produce. For an idea infusion, we asked top chefs for recipes. My favorite: Andrea Reusing’s tomatoes with sesame-miso sauce. It’s a gorgeous dish—even in harsh fluorescent light.

Where I’m Coming From

A Few Green Initiatives I Love:

Grow for Good
F&W’s very own green campaign, aimed at raising money to promote sustainable agriculture. Our 2008 beneficiary: chef Michel Nischan’s Wholesome Wave Foundation. Go to foodandwine.com/growforgood to learn more or to contribute.

Heritage Foods USA
The team at Heritage Foods works with small farmers to preserve foods from the past for future generations. The group sells these artisanal foods through its website. For details, go to heritagefoodsusa.com.

Local Harvest
This authoritative website helps people anywhere in the country find local farms, farmers’ markets and other local and organic food resources. Go to localharvest.org.

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