Red or Green?
Silver City's new Green Turtle Noshery aims to feed body and soul.
by Peggy Platonos
A new restaurant specializing in healthy food has opened in the building where the Peace Meal Deli used to be in The Hub in downtown Silver City. All organic, but not strictly vegetarian, Green Turtle Noshery offers food that, according to its mission statement, is "made by loving hands, with ingredients which are organic and local whenever possible… [and cooked] in a conscientious and healthful way."
Everything about Green Turtle Noshery is harmonious and attractive, including owner Terri Todd herself, who radiates warmth, gentle goodwill and quiet competence. She uses organic ingredients, she says, "just because that's the way I eat at home, and I don't like to feed people things I don't want to eat myself."
She explains that her commitment to organic food dates back to the birth of her first child, in 1979. "I wanted my children to eat healthy, so I started doing research. I loved gardening and had already started experimenting with using beneficial insects in the garden in place of pesticides to protect the vegetable plants. For my children's sake, I made a firm decision to use only organic ingredients in our food. We were vegetarian for many years, but as I got older, I added a little meat back into my diet."
The menu at Green Turtle Noshery varies somewhat from day to day, and reflects the seasonal availability of local fruits and vegetables. Most of the items on the menu are vegetarian, but several non-vegetarian dishes have turned out to be popular and are likely to remain regular options. These include the wild-caught salmon burger served on a homemade oat herb bun with a side of Asian slaw ($8.95) and chicken salad, served on the same kind of bun or on any of the other homemade breads available at the time, with a choice of black bean corn cilantro salad or mixed organic greens ($8.95).
The restaurant is open Thursday through Saturday from 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and on Sundays from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sundays feature a day-long brunch with both breakfast and lunch items available at all hours. On the other days, breakfast items are served until 11 a.m., and the lunch menu goes into effect after that.
Top of the list for regular breakfast options is an Egg Bowl for $7.95. Terri's description of this dish is: "Start with a ramekin, fill it with chef's choice, top with two eggs and bake." Chef's choice ingredients vary according to availability and inclination, and may sometimes include organic sausage from River Ranch Market as an option. Cooked to order, this dish requires at least 15 minutes preparation time.
An Egg Bowl variation that is always available reflects Terri's Deep South roots as well as her love of the Southwest, and includes grits, in addition to green chile and cheese. All the Egg Bowls are served with fresh fruit and toast.
The breakfast menu also regularly includes house-made granola, served with yogurt and fresh fruit ($6.95); quiche (the variety changes from day to day) served with fresh fruit ($7.95); baked oatmeal, with layers of fresh fruit and nuts, served with milk or cream ($5.95); breakfast pizza, made with a buttery rosemary biscuit crust topped with tomatoes, onions, green chile, scrambled eggs and cheese ($5.50); and a childhood favorite, Bubbly Toast, consisting of two slices of toast spread with almond or peanut butter, topped with all-fruit jam, and baked until the jam is warm and bubbly ($3.50, or $2.50 without a nut butter).
In addition to the wild-caught salmon burger and chicken salad, the regular lunch menu also includes quiche, served with a side of either black bean corn cilantro salad or a small house salad ($7.95), and Cranberry Walnut Feta Salad with a choice of interesting and unusual salad dressings ($9.95). In cooler weather, Terri offered a soup every day, served either with house salad ($5.95 cup, $7.95 bowl) or with homemade bread ($4.95 cup, $6.95 bowl). Now that hot weather has arrived, she alternates a Tabouli and Hummus Plate ($7.95) with a Norimake Plate consisting of nori rolls filled with a choice of vegetables, spicy salmon or spicy tuna (also $7.95).
Terri is sensitive to special-diet needs, and always has gluten-free breads and quiche available, as well as vegan items. "Also, anything we make can be special-ordered with at least a 48-hour notice," she says.
Though Terri has no prior restaurant experience, she did operate a home-baking business in Silver City between 2006 and 2011, and she makes sure there are always freshly baked muffins, scones, bagels and desserts on hand at Green Turtle Noshery.
Fruit tarts vary according to the season, ranging from apricot, peach, pear and apple to cranberry later in the fall. Her cookie varieties are unusual and include peanut butter chocolate chip (gluten-free), espresso butter, lemon cornmeal chile, almond, and apple-walnut. She also makes orange-scented olive oil cakes. Barb Fila, former owner of Badass Bakery, adds her special creations to Green Turtle Noshery's dessert options with her popular lemon-coconut cake and gluten-free chocolate cheesecake.
Even the beverages are out of the ordinary. The list includes homemade Chai iced tea (unsweetened), hibiscus-lemon iced tea, Raven's Brew organic coffee, Two Leaves and a Bud hot teas, and Big B's organic fruit juices.
You may be wondering where the name "Green Turtle Noshery" came from. Terri says the "Noshery" part was simply an effort to find a not-so-ordinary word to use in place of restaurant, café or eatery.
As for the "Green Turtle" part, Terri explains, "Turtles have been, for many years, kind of my totem animal. I feel a strong connection to them. And 'Green' signifies that I'm trying to do things in as sustainable a way as I can — in my business as well as in my private life. It's why I support local organic growers by buying their produce whenever I can. It's why I use only biodegradable or recyclable to-go containers that are not harmful to the environment. It's why I use only organic ingredients, grown or raised without chemicals that harm both the environment and our bodies."
Though Green Turtle Noshery has been open for less than three months, Terri seems to be well on her way to achieving her goal of creating a "calm and peaceful refuge" where people can take time out from their busy day to "feed body and soul."
For more information, call Terri at (575) 200-6895, or stop in at Green Turtle Noshery Thursday through Sunday during the restaurant's business hours. Green Turtle Noshery is located at 601 N. Bullard, Silver City, in The Hub.