By Samantha Minchello of TAPinto Long Branch

LONG BRANCH, NJ – The City of Long Branch recently honored three local businesses as the city’s first Certified Green Businesses. Griffy’s Organics, Beach Grille, and Wild Honeysuckle General Store each qualified under the city’s new Green Business Recognition (GBR) program. Launched in late 2023, this program is designed to highlight and promote local businesses and non-profits that are committed to environmental stewardship and use sustainable practices in their daily operations. Sustainable practices include actions that reduce energy or water use, reduce pollution or waste, increase recycling, or other actions that support the environment.

“I am delighted to be able to recognize these three local businesses with our new Green Business Certification,” said Mayor John Pallone. “As a shore community, protecting our natural resources is especially important. With this program, we want to demonstrate that business success and environmental stewardship can go hand in hand. Griffy’s Organics, Beach Grille, and Wild Honeysuckle General Store are great examples of that principle.”

Griffy’s Organics focuses on health and wellness, so it’s no surprise that co-owners Avry and Chris Griffin make it a point to follow environmentally friendly business practices. Over 80% of the fresh fruits and vegetables used in Griffy’s delicious smoothies, juice cleanses, and elixirs come from local organic farmers. Honey is also sourced locally. All of Griffy’s products are organic, and they even press their own sugar cane to preserve the nutrients. Griffy’s acts as a local supplier itself, providing fresh organic juices to other area eateries.

Griffy’s ships nationally and uses eco-liners made from denim to insulate their packages. Their utensils are made from agave and some products can be purchased in returnable glass or cardboard containers. The shop uses biodegradable oil for their juice press, as well as natural soaps and other cleaning products, and LED and high-efficiency lighting has been installed. To further support our natural world, Griffy’s donates annually to the National Forest Foundation. Chris and Avry constantly try to expand their sustainability efforts and are currently reaching out to local farms in efforts to create a composting program, though they have not yet found a partner.

Griffy’s Organics, 144 Brighton Ave, is open daily until 7 pm. You can also order off their website. Become a rewards program member or download their app to earn rewards and save 20% on your first order. Follow Griffy’s on Instagram at griffys organics or Facebook at griffys organics for specials along with regular health and wellness updates.

All Photo Credits: City of Long Branch

Sustainability is also at the core for Wild Honeysuckle General Store, a charming eclectic shop in North Long Branch serving delicious teas, coffee, ice cream and natural snacks along with a wide selection of eco-friendly products and arts and crafts items made by local artisans.

Owner Monica McCall grew up in an eco-conscious family and her store embodies those principles. Many products are sourced locally. For others, she makes a conscious effort to buy from organizations which follow eco-friendly practices and use zero-waste packaging. The store’s shelving and display cases are all created from repurposed furniture and other reclaimed objects. An old refrigerator was turned into a closet. Rainwater is collected and used to water the storefront pots; cardboard boxes are repurposed for gift packaging, and for cleaning, Monica uses the same eco-friendly products she sells.

Wild Honeysuckle, located at 50 Atlantic Ave, is open daily from 11 am – 4 pm, and until 6 pm on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Follow them on Instagram at wild_honeysuckle_general_store or Facebook at Wild Honeysuckle General Store. Note that during the winter Wild Honeysuckle will cut back on their evening hours but they will be hosting special events, book clubs and talks on Wednesdays. The specific dates will be posted on Instagram and Facebook.

Beach Grille not only serves up delicious breakfasts and lunches daily (don’t miss the crumb cake!), they make sure to follow sustainable business practices too. From sourcing ingredients locally to installing high-efficiency appliances, to using environmentally friendly cleaning supplies, owner Fran Schults takes care to minimize her business’ environmental footprint.

Growing up Fran’s family recycled before it was fashionable, and those lessons have stayed with her. In addition to regular recycling, Fran also recycles her cooking oil and donates excess food from events to several local churches. She uses leftover grounds from a local coffee company in the restaurant’s flower box and the skins from the roasting of the coffee beans (known as chaff) which would otherwise go to waste in her garden as compost. Fran uses recycled products whenever possible (utensils, plates, to-go containers) and has even secured bicycles for staff to encourage biking to work. For their work with local farmers, Beach Grille was recently featured in the county’s Grown in Monmouth restaurant week program. They also participated in the Green Team’s food scrap composting pilot program and Fran is hopeful that city can find a way to bring it back.

Fran, who started out as a caterer, offers a full suite of catering services from her restaurant and is also launching a “Grab and Go” option. A private room is available for events. Veterans’ specials are offered on the second Tuesday of the month. Customers are all warmly welcomed by Fran’s friendly staff. Local artists are also featured – both musical and visual. Musicians perform on Sundays year round and on weekends during the summer. Beach Grille, 49 Atlantic Ave, is open daily from 7 am – 2 pm, and Friday evening dinners are hosted the first Friday of each month. Follow them on Facebook at BeachGrilleLB.