Waste Not

“Machigua” Nica for pig slop.

I’ve worked in restaurants for over 20 years. It’s fast paced challenging work; I’ve always enjoyed it. Though, as with all jobs, there are aspects that have frustrated me. The most upsetting thing about working restaurants is witnessing the mountains of food thrown away every day —breakfast, lunch and dinner… breakfast, lunch and dinner, 365 days a year.  Reputable research informs us that forty percent of the consumable food in the U.S. is thrown away; a statistic that has consumed me in the way thoughts of the ocean’s garbage gyres can drag me below the surface of despair.

When I lived in Chicago, I would leave the restaurant and sometimes see people sifting through the still nourishing food we threw into a vile trash bin; salvaging bits, tainted only because we’d put them in an unsanitary place. We also sent weekly meals to a homeless shelter, but it didn’t assuage the guilt I felt for serving piles of food that few could possibly finish, but to many who would complain if the portions were reduced. Some want their money’s worth, even if it is only to throw it away.

probecho!

probecho!

Finally, I have a restaurant job that has solved this dilemma. At La Finca y El Mar all of our waste is sorted: citrus rinds for compost, plate waste for pigs, plastics, glass and cardboard recycled, which creates a significantly decreased trash output .

Lucas. He was so emaciated and infested when Felipe took him in we doubted he'd live. But, He's gaining weight...yes, he was thinner.

Lucas. He was so emaciated and infested when Felipe took him in we doubted he’d live. But, He’s gaining weight…yes, he was thinner.

Felipe comes to the restaurant each morning and collects the food waste bins. The pigs get a diverse and tasty supplement to their feed, his adopted farm dog Lucas, enjoys the pork scraps and bones he and his coworkers pull out of the pig’s portion, the compost benefits from a boost of acidity for our alkaline soil, and I am freed from agonizing over my contribution to waste and indifference.

Probecho piggies!

Where in the World…

have I been? Street Art ChicagoPerhaps those of you who have been reading vsvevg for awhile are wondering if I truly mean to continue with this blog.

I do.

But recently I’ve been traveling.

And my long suffering Laptop died.

My desk, and internet stick in the cow pasture office.

My desk, and internet stick in the cow pasture office.

I have returned to Nicaragua with a new laptop(which apparently has a very delicate publish button, I accidently published this post before it was finished!?)I’ll be back with as soon as I learn how to use it 🙂 Saludos, Abby

The Road from Farm to Table

Self Sustainable. Organic. Farm to Table. Appealing words— admirable concepts. But  we seldom consider what it entails to bring such belief systems to fruition; how we navigate the road from farm…to table.

Farmer Chris and Sous Chef Adam on Machete Duty

Farmer Chris and Sous Chef Adam on Machete Duty

This week at Rancho Santana’s chicken facility our farm and kitchen staff walked that path.

Felipe and Omar Plucking

Felipe and Omar Plucking

Melky and Justin Butchering

Melky and Justin Butchering

Hen to plate.

Sautéed Chicken Liver with Radish, Fennel Frond Salad

Sautéed Chicken Liver with Radish, Fennel Frond Salad

The next generation.

The next geration

Becoming a Horizon

Kind of like home, but with a beach!

Kind of like home, but with a beach!

I am an intrepid decision maker, but sometimes my coping skills struggle to keep up with the fearless nature of my choices. The past several weeks I’ve been scrambling to acclimate to modern life.

When I lived at the Piedra Rahada I felt well organized when I knew what day of the week it was, rich when there was an extra 10 pesos for beer;  thus, carrying internet on my body, honoring schedules, disposable cash and availability of products, have left me feeling rattled and unfocused.

But thankfully,last year I gave my self the gift of walking while memorizing poetry; Mr. Strand and the ocean are bringing me back to center.