From Carrot Skins Come Chicken Wings

Here’s an extreme example of recycling in the food supply chain. Several New York City restaurants are sending some of their kitchen scraps to an Amish chicken farm in Pennsylvania. Chickens of a breed imported from France eat the kitchen scraps, and when their day comes, are slaughtered and shipped to those restaurants to be served to customers.

Of course, feeding table scraps to your domestic chickens is not exactly a new idea in many rural parts of the world, but when four-star chefs do it, the idea sounds like an innovation.

Here’s the story in the New York Times.

OK, so technically it’s not recycling. And the driving force seems to be taste, not sustainability, as the participating chefs are raving about the flavorful meat from the pampered poultry. Someone ought to run a total cost analysis, though. The restaurant would have to get a break in its waste removal costs because of the diversion of the kitchen scraps. The chickens are still fed soybean pellets to supplement the scraps, but not as much as they would without the recycling program, so there’s some savings there.

Perhaps the same truck delivering the chickens returns to the farm full of fresh scraps. There might be value there if the trucks had been returning to the farm empty. Nevertheless, it does seem that the transportation costs of shuttling between a Pennsylvania farm and Manhattan kitchen would prevent the program from being a value AND flavor win. You certainly can’t blame them from thinking outside the coop, though.

Possibly the next step has to be roosters on the roof, pecking in the sedum turf. Or “Central Park Free Range Fowl.” What do you think?


One response to “From Carrot Skins Come Chicken Wings

  1. Good post about recycling in the food supply chain. Kitchen and garden scraps are traditional poultry feeds. A grain based diet, vegetables, fruits, fish, meat meal or worms are used as normal chicken feeds. High nutritional value of the feed keeps chickens healthy. The quality of the feed should not be compromised for cost savings.

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