50 LOCAL refers to our commitment of ensuring that at least 50% of our menu is comprised of ingredients sourced within Massachusetts, starting with the restaurant’s own green wall and involving many of the small farming communities surrounding Boston.
50% within Massachusetts
This focuses on the locavore process to sourcing food, guaranteeing that at least 50% is grown and harvested within Massachusetts, dealing with only organic, sustainable, or natural purveyors. The culmination of the “50 local” philosophy is the green wall featured in the dining area, available to our chefs during service. Indoor hydroponics allows us to grow produce during the winter months as well, and maintain our locally-harvested mission.
Tasting Counter subsidizes vegetable container gardens to be constructed by Green City Growers in the urban gardens of local residents who are willing and able to care for these small gardens. The growing maintenance of the produce is overseen by Groundwork Somerville, with whom Chef Ungár has built a working relationship while organizing community involvement as president of the Friends of Foss Park, a neighborhood group in Somerville.
In return for maintaining the planting beds, the families keep 50% (50 LOCAL) of the vegetables for themselves, and may choose to either use it for their own personal consumption or sell the “local organic produce” at nearby farmers markets as an additional revenue stream. In return for subsidizing the planting beds, Tasting Counter takes the other 50% of vegetables to supplement the produce needs of the kitchen, thereby obtaining ultralocal organic products.
The goal of this charitable endeavor is to help provide just-harvested fresh produce for underprivileged families, spread interest in do-it-yourself gardening throughout the community, spread the “green movement” ideals beyond the restaurant, and to truly procure 50% of foods within Massachusetts, sustaining the 50 LOCAL mantra.
Tasting Counter’s loyalty to locavore sourcing is not limited to foodstuffs, but also includes all the business relationships they have in the restaurant industry. This includes payroll services, water filtration systems, hydroponic systems, and any other resources from a Massachusetts vendor, striving to support local companies and businesses at every possible point. This is accomplished by partnering with the Sustainable Business Network of Massachusetts and achieving certification through the Sustainable Business Leader Program. Tasting Counter is also honored to be a part of the Aeronaut Foods Hub community and will use products from each local business in the restaurant.