Baldor Specialty Foods, the largest importer and distributor of fresh produce and specialty foods in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region has announced on November 30, 2015 that it will be implementing an initiative whose goal it is to eliminate food waste. Rooted in a program called SparCs, which supplies chefs and manufacturers with trim, tops and peelings from the company’s processing facility, Baldor hopes to challenge the industry to incorporate these ingredients into their products, to change our attitude toward food waste.
“For us,” says Thomas McQuillan, who is spearheading Baldor’s sustainability initiatives, “it is not garbage. It is not waste. We have to stop calling it waste, trim or byproduct. It is food.” The company, which processes over a quarter million pounds of produce per week, has struggled to address volume of organic matter it routinely disposes of, until recently when they got a call from Adam Kaye, vice president of culinary affairs at Dan Barber’s popular restaurant, Blue Hill. Kaye called requesting to buy carrot peels and celery tops for their WastED dinner series which raises awareness about food waste and the ideal solution, eating it.
“We were caught off guard,” recalled CEO TJ Murphy. “We had not considered the value that these items might have for chefs.”In addition to Blue Hill, Baldor is in the early stages of supplying SparCs to Marco Canora’s restaurant Brodo and has received a surge of requests from other major industry players such as Dig Inn. In order to fully divert organic matter from the waste stream, Baldor is taking a three tiered approach, starting with human consumption, then animal feed in collaboration with Flying Pigs Farm to create a nutritious pig-feed, and lastly anaerobic digestion, which in this case will be utilized for wastewater treatment in participation with Newton Creek’s Wastewater Treatment Plant.
Published in WholeFoods Magazine, January 2016, online 12/9/15