There is admittedly a good deal of waste from our kitchen and our farm markets…wilted kale, rotten tomatoes, zucchini tops and bottoms, cheese rinds. It’s a natural part of any farm that grows food and any kitchen that processes fresh food. Thankfully we have a system for dealing with food waste on the farm so that it isn’t, well, a waste! Each Friday we donate unsold produce still in good condition to the Valley Food Bank/Spooner House to feed people in the community in need. Leftovers from cooking classes, events, and kitchen research projects (like the four recipes for carrot bread that didn’t QUITE turn out how we had hoped) are fed to the farm family and staff.
THEN the farm animals get involved. The wild turkeys are the pickiest eaters – but love lettuce and other greens. The chickens jump (literally) at the sight of sweet corn, beets, kale, lettuce, tomatoes, and other fresh produce. The pigs squeal with excitement over the rest – enjoying any produce that’s damaged or eaten by insects, dairy products that have expired, and any other leftovers! Anything that isn’t edible (corn husks, garlic peels, onions, coffee grounds) gets composted in our Christmas trees so that the nutrients are recycled back into the earth. Next spring we have plans to build a larger composting station and purchase only compostable papergoods, so we can add one more step to our food waste plan.