It’s Earth Day and you want to do your part for the environment—great! Making incremental, eco-conscious changes to your everyday life is key, and cooking up an organic, sustainably farmed vegetarian or vegan meal for a “date night in” is a fabulously easy way to go green and raise a glass to the planet.
First things first: plan your menu around what’s in season in your area, then shop for your ingredients. Choose locally grown, organic and sustainably farmed produce whenever possible—the farther an item has to travel to get to your table, the greater its carbon footprint. You could sign up for a CSA (community-supported agriculture) service, which will deliver a box of in-season fruits and vegetables from local farmers right to your door; browse your nearest farmers’ market for the freshest fare; or simply head to the organic section of your favourite grocery store. To be even eco-friendlier, look for ingredients produced on regenerative farms.
Seeking out planet-friendly options for your date night in doesn’t end with the food, either: to accompany your meal, you can source organic, sustainable—and even regeneratively farmed—wines, such as the award-winning vintages produced by Bonterra Organic Vineyards, which have been farmed organically since 1987.
From its biodynamic ranches and carefully curated cover crops, which not only protect but help feed the soil, to the menagerie of insect- and weed-eating chickens and sheep used instead of chemicals to control pests, Bonterra’s commitment to the environment extends from the roots to the grapes of each vine.
If your meal showcases mushrooms, eggplant or grilled vegetables, you might consider Bonterra’s 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon, which complements umami-centric ingredients beautifully. With aromas of bright cherry, currant and raspberry, and featuring notes of toasted oak and vanilla, this cabernet boasts a balanced acidity, the flavours of cherry and currant, and a lingering, thoughtful finish.
With a bright and clean mouth feel, Bonterra’s 2017 Chardonnay initially delivers an impression of rich, buttery cream that turns to aromas of honey and lightly toasted almonds, then to richer notes of pineapple, lemon and crème brûlée. Refreshing on the palate, its vibrant tartness makes it an ideal pairing for creamy pasta dishes, Asian cuisine or a main course built around squash or potatoes.
Once you’ve decided on your food and drink, turn your attention to your table. Upcycle items around the house to create a fun centrepiece (think: a houseplant in a decorative pot, or a colourful arrangement of painted mason jars), and forego disposable in favour of reusable when it comes to utensils, dishware and napkins.
With the meal prepared and the wine poured, cozy up on the couch for a great film. Stay true to the Earth Day theme with two excellent documentaries available for streaming: The Biggest Little Farm, a fascinating and entertaining chronicle of eight years in the life of an urban couple, who decide to build a 200-acre regenerative farm on seemingly infertile land; and Kiss the Ground (narrated by Woody Harrelson), which explores the regenerative-farming movement around the world, and the global benefits of “healing” our soil.
Finally, as your green date night in draws to a satisfying close, aim to finish with zero waste. Package up any leftovers in reusable containers, and compost any food scraps, such as vegetable peels. Use your dishwasher if you have one—even a semi-filled load uses less water than washing dishes by hand—and don’t forget to turn off all the lights before you head to bed.