Charlotte knocked the tub out of my hands and coleslaw tumbled to the ground. She was clearly excited about the kitchen scraps I was feeding, so excited she acted like a pig. Charlotte is actually a seven hundred pound friendly sow who smells like maple syrup. She has lived at Miles Smith Farm ever since she dodged being turned into bacon three years ago.
Pigs are omnivores and need protein to survive and thrive. We feed our young piglets a grain mix but we feed the older sows (female pigs) and our boar (male pig) a variety of food. Since these older pigs are not growing much they can eat different types of food including kitchen scraps. Kitchen scraps are created when chefs prepare meals and can include kale, lettuce stems, fruit, assorted vegetables, cake, pasta and bread but never meat. Kitchen waste is a huge problem for chefs and in most cases goes into a dumpster and then to the landfill. Some restaurant kitchens, like Grappone Conference Center, bypass the dumpster and send these scraps to farms for livestock to eat.
We pick up scraps frequently from Grappone. The chefs store the scraps in white buckets which are kept refrigerated until we pick them up to bring to the farm. Trish Taylor, head chef at Grappone, told me that along with other recycling efforts and scrap “sharing” with farmers, the Center was able to get rid of their double sized dumpster which was emptied twice a week and move to a smaller single sized dumpster that is emptied only once a week.
The pigs love the scraps. After Charlotte knocked the tub of coleslaw to the ground, she rolled in it, just like a dog might do when excited. At Miles Smith Farm we feed scraps like pasta, coleslaw, potato salad, bread and sometimes cake to our older pigs; five sows and boar. The cattle and chickens get the lettuce, cabbage, broccoli and occasionally fruit. All of these scraps are fresh and look delicious. I’ve been known to sample some of the cake myself…of course just to make sure it’s fresh enough for the pigs!
Besides Grappone Conference Center I know that supermarkets give their shelf waste to farmers as well. Just think of it, when you eat out you are not only feeding yourself, the extra is feeding livestock that may eventually be on your plate again. What a great circle. Besides, Charlotte loves that leftover coleslaw and potato salad.
Check out this video of the pigs and cattle: http://tinyurl.com/z7gyoe7