Grillin’ green-style

A few simple steps to guilt-free barbecuing

Ah, the summertime barbecue. Nothing beats inviting friends over for good eats straight off the grill. But before heading out to pick up the essential items (food, charcoal, napkins, etc.), consider how easy it would be to prepare a sustainable feast.

In Chico, we’ve got three amazing weekly farmers markets from which to pick up produce (and flowers for decorating). And omnivores aren’t left out: Saturday’s market at West Second and Wall streets usually has a vendor selling grass-fed beef and other eco-friendly meats.

Head down there and pick up vine-ripened tomatoes and other locally grown food fare. Think fruit or mixed-greens salads. Toss some eggplant, squash, bell peppers and onions on the grill. Make shish kebobs! And don’t forget we have two terrific sustainable beer makers right in our back yard: Sierra Nevada and organic Butte Creek.

Of course, grilling with gas is best for the environment. But charcoal lovers now have the option of using brands that make their briquettes from sustainable sources. Look for products carrying the logos of the Forest Stewardship Council or Rainforest Alliance SmartWood. (These products aren’t widely distributed, so you might have to order them online.)

Finally, when it comes to loading your plates, regular dishware and utensils are the way to go. Sure, you’ll have dishes. What you won’t have is the guilt of wasting natural resources. If you must use disposable products, try biodegradable varieties.

Happy grilling!