tilth brulee
Image: Olivia Brent
Yep, this is organic. From Tilth.
During the exhaustive digestive spectacle that is our Best Restaurants research—and oh, what an issue it will make—I discovered a proud fact about our city. Of the nine restaurants nationwide certified organic by the stringent certifier, Oregon Tilth—five are in Seattle

The Corvallis-based nonprofit Oregon Tilth, considered to be one of the most influential and trusted organic certifiers in the country, told us the Seattle restaurants are Maria Hines’s dynamic duo Tilth (no relation) and Golden Beetle, and Chaco Canyon Organic Cafe in the U District and Chaco Canyon Organic Cafe West in West Seattle.

Good old Mighty-O Donuts on 55th joined the illustrious group last month. Vegan and organic and doughnuts. Wow.

Oregon Tilth’s organic certification hews to the USDA organic standard and then some, requiring a fee, a detailed nine-page application, an exhaustive physical inspection (lots of labeling, lots of record keeping), and a final review before the stamp of approval.

Then lather, rinse, and repeat—every year. It’s rigorous.

Make no mistake: A bunch of terrific noncertified restaurants pride themselves on serving organic wherever possible. Places like Homegrown and Local 360, which strive for sustainability, sometimes forgo organic when a nearly-as-good product holds the trump card of being local.

Remember too that a quick glance at the USDA certification website reveals that a bunch of local not-quite-restaurants enjoy its organic stamp of approval, including Stumptown Coffee, Theo Chocolate, Elliott Bay Brewing Co. (for its beer), and Essential Baking Company.