Baldor Specialty Foods, a Northeast distributor of fresh produce, has plans to eliminate all organic waste destined for the landfill. A program called SparCs, which offers trim, tops and peelings from the company’s processing facility to chefs and manufacturers, anchors the initiative.
As a processor of more than a quarter million pounds of produce per week, Baldor has struggled to address the volume of organic matter that it regularly disposes.
According to Thomas McQuillan, who is spearheading Baldor’s sustainability initiatives, “For us, it is not garbage. It is not waste. We have to stop calling it waste, trim or byproduct. It is food.”
The company’s moment of inspiration came during a phone call from Adam Kaye, VP of culinary affairs at Blue Hill.
“When Adam called about buying carrot peelings and celery tops for their WastED dinner series, we were caught off guard,” said CEO TJ Murphy. “We had not considered the value that these items might have for chefs. WastED really raised awareness about the issue of food waste and presented a creative solution: eat it.”
Baldor recently announced a partnership with Misfit Juicery, a Washington, D.C.-based company that produces cold-pressed juice from irregularly shaped and surplus fruits and vegetables in order to fight food waste.
The company also is in the early stages of supplying SparCs to Marco Canora’s restaurant Brodo and has received an influx of requests from major industry players, including the fast-casual chain Dig Inn.
To fully divert organic matter from the waste stream, the SparCs program will take a three-tiered approach, focusing first on human consumption, then on animal feed and finally anaerobic digestion.
Baldor is collaborating with Flying Pigs Farm to develop optimally nutritious pig feed using food waste. The company also plans to participate in a program at Newton Creek’s Wastewater Treatment Plant that will introduce food waste to the digester stream for the first time.