Mighty-O Donuts hopes to further solidify its organic credentials this summer by becoming the nation's ninth certified organic restaurant.
Under the tutelage of Chaco Canyon, the state's first certified organic vegetarian café, Mighty-O a few weeks ago applied for certification through Oregon Tilth. Owner Ryan Kellner's assistant Evie Carr says the bakery anticipates receiving its credentials in two to three months. Mighty-O is also pursuing non-GMO certification through FoodChain Global Advisors.
"We're trying to get them to roll out at the same time," Carr says. "We're just waiting for them to call."
The dream of an organic doughnut spawned the original Mighty-O cart in 2000, but formal certification requires more than the use of organic ingredients. According to a recent Gristarticle about the rarity of certified restaurants, Tilth's system dictates menu phrasing, inventory tracking and how kitchens store their cutting boards.
Still, Carr says, Mighty-O didn't need to make too many changes to achieve compliance.
"We had to rearrange some of our shelves," she says.
But the related paperwork can be burdensome, which helps explain why the bakery didn't apply for certification under Chaco Canyon's owners offered to help.
"We weren't equipped to focus on it," Carr says.
The owner of a Washington D.C. restaurant that earned the first-ever organic certification from Oregon Tilth told Grist that she wouldn't have been able to shoulder its cost - she employs a full-time staffer to keep the kitchen up to code - if she didn't charge $30 for an entrée. Doughnuts cost considerably less.
Carr says Kellner wasn't daunted by the expense.
"People know organic is a little bit more expensive, so that helps," she says. "And for Ryan, it's the only way to work."