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Discover the culinary artistry and dedication to sustainability of York's Food Heroes, chefs, producers, and eateries that are not only members of Visit York but also key contributors to Green York, an initiative that champions environmental responsibility alongside tranquility and green spaces within our historic city.

In this feature, we explore the stories of these local Food Heroes who are committed to using sustainable practices and locally sourced ingredients. Their dedication not only enhances the flavour of their offerings but also supports a healthier planet. These artisans demonstrate how sustainable gastronomy in York is seamlessly integrated with our serene environments, offering a comprehensive approach to eco-friendly living and dining.

Join us as we highlight how these Food Heroes enhance York’s appeal as a top destination for visitors looking for an authentic taste of sustainability!

Cooper King Distillery

Cooper King Distillery in Sutton-on-the-Forest, York, embodies the spirit of sustainability with its commitment to producing England's first carbon-negative gins.

As a self-built, family-owned distillery, it operates entirely on 100% green energy and champions eco-friendly practices. Each bottle of gin sold contributes to the planting of 1 square metre of English woodland, enhancing the local ecosystem.

Their award-winning Cooper King Dry Gin, infused with honey from their own beehives and locally grown lavender, offers a taste that's both innovative and respectful of nature. This distillery not only offers tours and gin refills but also sets a standard for environmental stewardship in the spirits industry.

York Minster Refectory

The York Minster Refectory, located in the Grade 2 listed former York Minster School built in the 1830s, offers unique views of York Minster. This brasserie-style restaurant serves all-day refreshments and modern British dishes using local produce and suppliers from in and around Yorkshire. With options for dining in or takeaway, the restaurant also offers evening dining and a variety of smaller function, lounge, and private dining options, making it accessible for all.

Committed to sustainability, York Minster Refectory features solar slates, an air source heat pump, a living wall, and a private herb garden used for cocktails, dish garnishes, and syrup making. They provide cycle racks for customer use and a cycle repair station. The living wall, combined with their other green initiatives, significantly enhances the restaurant's green appeal and underscores their commitment to eco-friendly practices.

Pairings Wine Bar

Pairings Wine Bar, run by a team of sisters, offers an informal yet sophisticated environment where guests can enjoy fine wines, local ales, and a selection of paired delicacies.

Located in York, this award-winning wine bar integrates local produce and artisan foods into its offerings, promoting a sustainable dining culture. Their new lunchtime menu and specialized pairing concepts make fine dining accessible and enjoyable, contributing to York's sustainable food scene by supporting local suppliers and producers.

The Balloon Tree Farm Shop & Cafe

The Balloon Tree Farm Shop & Cafe is a cornerstone of local agriculture in York, offering a direct farm-to-table experience with its café and farm shop.

The family-run business emphasizes sustainable agriculture by providing a platform for local and artisan producers. Their award-winning cafe serves home-cooked food sourced from their own and local produce, while the farm shop offers a wide variety of locally-produced items. The Pick Your Own fruit events further connect visitors with the source of their food, promoting environmental awareness and community involvement.

The Black Swan Oldstead & Roots

The Black Swan Oldstead, located by the North York Moors, showcases Michelin-starred dining with a focus on locally sourced ingredients. Its menu is deeply connected to the local land, utilizing produce from its own garden and nearby family farm. This approach not only enhances flavour but also supports local agriculture and reduces food miles, aligning with Green York's sustainability goals.

Roots York, in the heart of historic York, offers a Michelin-starred tasting menu experience crafted by head chef Will Lockwood. The dishes reflect a modern take on Yorkshire's culinary traditions, using high-end, locally sourced ingredients preserved through innovative techniques. This allows the restaurant to extend the availability of seasonal produce, contributing to a sustainable culinary model.

Both venues embody sustainable gastronomic practices by integrating local sourcing and reducing environmental impact, reinforcing York's reputation as a destination for eco-conscious food enthusiasts.

Harrogate Tipple

Located within the historic Ripley Castle Estate, Harrogate Tipple is renowned for its commitment to local sourcing and environmental responsibility.

Utilizing botanicals grown within the castle’s ancient gardens and water from Harrogate Spring, the distillery produces award-winning gins that capture the essence of its surroundings. By maintaining sustainable practices in every aspect of production, Harrogate Tipple embodies the values of Green York, offering spirits that are both premium and environmentally conscious.

York Gin

York Gin, located in the heart of the city, is an exemplar of sustainable spirit production.

With a range of award-winning gins, the distillery operates on 100% green energy and uses all plastic-free, locally sourced packaging. Their commitment to sustainability extends beyond their production processes to their community engagement, offering gin tasting experiences that educate visitors about the rich history and sustainable practices of gin making.

As a prominent member of the York community, York Gin enhances the city’s reputation as a destination for environmentally responsible tourism.

Ellers Farm Distillery

Ellers Farm Distillery stands as a model of sustainable distilling in North Yorkshire.

Certified as a B Corp since September 2023, the distillery is dedicated to producing award-winning, high-quality spirits while minimising environmental impact. With a focus on balancing people, planet and profit, Ellers Farm offers tours that highlight their sustainable practices, allowing visitors to experience first-hand the care and innovation that go into each bottle.

Middlethorpe Hall & Spa

Standing in twenty acres of award-winning gardens and parkland, yet five minutes from York City Centre, Middlethorpe Hall & Spa is a delightful William III country house built in 1699.

The flourishing garden at Middlethorpe Hall & Spa provides fresh, homegrown produce for the kitchen. The collaboration between the garden and kitchen teams ensures organic, flavourful dishes with a minimal carbon footprint.

The panelled dining rooms overlook the gardens and feature imaginative food (2 AA rosettes) that embodies the hotel's commitment to sustainability. There is also a health and beauty spa with an indoor pool, gymnasium, and treatment rooms.

The York on a Fork Food Tour

York on a Fork offers a unique, eco-friendly way to explore York's rich culinary landscape.

Led by local food expert Ben, this walking tour introduces participants to the city’s history and its best independent eateries, emphasizing sustainability by encouraging walking as a form of transport.

The tour supports local businesses and provides insight into York’s commitment to green practices, making it an ideal activity for visitors looking to engage with the city’s culture and commitment to the environment.

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