Chef Kevin and I were tasting wine yesterday with one of our favorite sales representatives. He brings some of the most interesting people with him, and yesterday’s meeting was no exception. As we tasted and talked we discovered that this winery, much like us, intend to leave a legacy to their children and the environment around them.
Kevin and I have been composting at home since our children were little, and like our kids, our gardens have flourished since the early days. It started off with fruit and veggie scraps, and organic debris from around the yard. Now we bring home as much compostable material as possible from the restaurant to our chickens and garden. Let’s face it, a restaurant creates a lot of vegetable scrap in preparation to serving a meal. Instead of letting it go to waste we prefer to feed our chickens tasty treats so that they, in return will provide us with tasty eggs. What they don’t or can’t eat goes to the compost pile where it is transformed into rich garden soil for our fruit and veggie garden.
Esentially compost, defined: n. a mixture of organic matter (plant, leaves, grass clippings, veggie peels, etc.) that has decomposed and is used as a soil conditioner and plant fertalizer; v. to make into compost. If you do an internet search for compost, you can find out numerous methods, applications, and mind boggling statistics. At EPA.gov I found out that as Americans we create almost six pounds of trash per household a day, of which around two pounds can be recycled in some way. Or that 23 million tons per year is compostable! So, Do You Compost?
Composting can be as difficult or as simple as you make it out to be, there are companies that will even do the work for you. Some of these companies are fee based and you receive a finished product, where others are more of a donation system. A little over 5 million households nationwide have access to food waste pick up services, similar to a trash pick up service, however only one third of these take advantage.
For us, composting started after seeing a deficiency in our garden soil when we moved to the upstate from the lowcountry. Just starting out, we bought the amendments at the garden store and soon learned that once you start this method it becomes a very vicous and expensive cycle. So naturally, we looked to how to go about getting that cake mix like soil we had in Charleston, there we really didn’t have too much amending, without the cost and chemical fertalizers. We researched what was missing and organic ways to get to where we needed to be from Clemson Extention, learning so much in the process. We were fortunate to have massive amounts of leaves on our 3/4 acre lot to help our venture, and free sources of manure from farmers looking to get rid of their abundance. Along with our scraps we were successful and were growing beautiful plants which produced plenty of fruits and vegetables for our family.
Working in the restuarant industry and seeing how much organic matter is disposed of brought us another souce of inspiration. When and where we could, before we acquired The Bohemian, we reduced the amount of veggie scrap, tea and coffee grounds going to the landfill to incorporate into our home composting. Now that we have our own restaurant, we are still composting and hopefully encouraging our restaurant family to do the same.
Whether you’re tending a window box herb garden, sprinkling your morning coffee grounds onto your azaleas, or tilling leaf mulch into your vegetable garden, everyone CAN compost.