Brewery and farm in Augusta County commits to zero food waste

Updated: May. 5, 2021 at 8:00 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - A brewery in the Shenandoah Valley recently received accolades from Governor Ralph Northam and Senator Mark Warner for its sustainable practices, specifically keeping tons of food from going to the landfill.

Stable Craft Brewing, nestled on the Hermitage Hill Farm, is an authentic working farm, brewery, and winery.

“We searched as far north as Maine, as far south as Miami, we just simply cannot find anybody that’s doing what we’re doing,” Craig Nargi, the owner of Stable Craft Brewing, said.

He’s talking about a commitment to zero food waste. “Five and a half tons diverted from our kitchen to our composting,” Nargi said.

This kind of composting is called Bokashi. It’s a Japanese word that means fermented organic matter.

“You’re allowed to use proteins, cheese, all those things that you typically can’t compost, which makes it a lot easier for our staff to participate in,” Nargi stated. “Unlike most compost, there’s no unpleasant odors. There’s not a big mess. It doesn’t attract wild animals.”

All food scraps go into a barrel with some Bokashi mix. “That starts to break it down and it turns into a liquid,” Nargi said.

The diluted compost tea goes right back into the plants - in the hop hard, and the greenhouse with the herbs. “And we could use it for fertilizer. We could use it for treating our drains,” Nargi stated. “It’s a perfect natural ingredient to use throughout our facility.”

Nargi says the costs associated with Bokashi are so negligible he hasn’t even bothered to do the math. “It is a win-win all the way around.”

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