It was a lovely evening in every sense. Most obviously, the sun was shining, the sky was clear, and the weather warm. Malcolm had arranged for us to meet with youngest son and daughter-in-law at a pop-up pizza place right near their (and our) favourite Bristol place, St Werburgh’s City Farm. The very same pop-up pizza place where us ‘grown-ups’ ate lunch during the recent farm Summer Fair (Cafe Mulino, if you’re wondering).
We got there early, so went for a stroll around the neighbourhood, something we’ve enjoyed doing ever since we first came across it when we moved to Bristol more than 30 years ago.
Which took us through the railway tunnel to a place called Boiling Wells (unlikely but true). Where there still exists a smallholding, the place where we visited the polytunnel during the fair. We saw sheep, chickens, a cow, geese. And then Malcolm spotted the barrels of – what? The farmer was standing nearby, so Malcolm asked him. And we were told an inspiring tale of ‘waste’ becoming food.
Richard (the farmer) collects the left overs from a nearby commercial bean sprout producer. He feeds it to his animals, which saves him from needing to buy in commercially produced animal feed. He gets paid to take the residue away (it’s a waste product, after all). He’s had it all properly tested to make sure that his animals get a balanced diet with no deficiencies. And they certainly look healthy enough!
Which leads me to wonder whether there are similar sources of ‘waste’ food I could tap into in my local area, to feed to our hens. In particular, I will make enquiries at the greengrocers about what they do with their waste veg (leaves, peelings etc). I remember that when we had a greengrocers at nearest local shops, the shop owner used to feed the waste to his own hens.
And as for our own supper that night? It couldn’t have been better. Wonderful pizzas cooked to order before our eyes, in a lovely setting, cooked and served by lovely people, surrounded by people young and old enjoying each other’s company, the balmy evening, and some BYO drinks (locally brewed beer in our case). And the salad that accompanied it came from that polytunnel down the road.
I’m guessing that, like me, Richard composts the stuff he cleans out of his animal pens and uses the compost to enrich the soil in that polytunnel – if so, that nicely rounds off that virtuous circle of ‘food from waste’.
A better evening could not have been had.
Afterwards we made our way separately home, to prepare for another day to come.