Our sister paper The Olympian reported today about The Mark restaurant in Olympia receiving organic certification last month by the state Department of Agriculture. Read the story here. The Mark, a restaurant serving Spanish, Italian and Basque style rustic cuisine with a Northwest sensibility, is the only restaurant in the state currently certified by the program (another restaurant, Seattle's Sterling Cafe, participated, but dropped out).
I spoke with restaurant owner Lisa Owen recently about the certification process. She said about 70 percent of what's on her menu is organic, and she alerts diners of organic menu choices with a system of asterisks explaining the extent to which each dish is organically sourced. "It doesn't mean that every single item I'm selling is organic, but it says that everything I'm saying is organic, really is organic," explained Owen.
She takes organic sourcing to the extreme – even using organic oils and offering organic wine, not to mention organic herbs in cocktails and organic dairy in coffee drinks. It's much easier now to source organic ingredients than ever before, but she still has difficulty sourcing some products, such as pancetta.
Serving organic is a mantra she takes to a basic level: "My rationale is I can't serve people things I wouldn't eat or drink."
Where: 407 S.W. Columbia St., Olympia
Hours: Dinner served 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; Tapas served until 2 a.m. Thursday-Saturday.