Table Scraps Return as Food and Fine Wine

Table Scraps Return as Food and Fine Wine

Food & Drink

Table Scraps Return as Food and Fine Wine


By Cari Martens

Northern California’s farms and wineries are making good use of the compost created from leftover food scraps picked up every day by San Francisco’s green crews. The waste material is in such high demand that it sells out during spreading season each year.

p(right caption). The compost is highly valued by Bay Area growers. (PHOTO: Kim Komenich/The Chronicle)

According to a story by Jane Kay on, about 2,000 restaurants, 2,080 large apartment buildings and 50,000 single-family homes participate in the city’s eco-friendly program, depositing oatmeal, chicken bones, and dead tree leaves in green bins picked up at curbside.

The waste material is converted into rich compost that enriches the area’s bounty of food while reducing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The high-quality compost is specially tailored for Bay Area growers of wine grapes, vegetables and nuts.

One big payoff, Kay writes, comes in the form of the crops that return to feed the Bay Area, making a full circle of food returning to food. It’s paid forward in the fruits, nuts and veggies sold at farmers’ markets and area restaurants, and in wines made in nearby Napa Valley and Sonoma.

Returning decaying organic matter to the soil also helps San Francisco to abide by a California state law that requires cities to reduce waste going to landfills.

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