The Chef’s Garden has been fortunate enough to participate in an extra-special collaborative effort, one that solved the problem of heating our new greenhouse, while a neighborhood farm turned an expense into a new revenue stream. This solution also reduced our combined carbon footprint.
Our initial challenge was to heat our new greenhouse in a cost-effective, sustainable, environmentally-friendly way. The solution? Heating it by burning corn cobs once considered to be waste. Fuel produced is called cellulosic ethanol and can be formed from the waste parts of corn. After broken down, via enzymes and yeast, it burns cleanly.
“For years,” Farmer Lee Jones says, “we had a neighbor, just a mile away, who needed to pay to have excess corn cobs hauled away from his farm. But, now that we can use them to heat our greenhouse, the neighboring farm gets paid for its cobs while we get the source of our heat delivered directly to our door. This aids the sustainability of both farms and is environmentally friendly. Everyone wins, and nothing excites me more than the opportunity to work collectively to solve problems creatively.”
All of us at The Chef’s Garden are watching the results of agricultural research from the University of Delaware, where they are more efficiently extracting sugars from waste products such as corn cobs. The goal is to create a cheaper substitute for petroleum currently used in manufacturing consumer goods that is sustainable and environmentally friendly.
Potential impact is huge. The article describes products that could be more sustainably manufactured in this way: “The shampoo you washed your hair with this morning. The balloons for the party. Refrigerators and sunglasses, medicine and mosquito repellent, guitar strings and fishing lures. These – and thousands of other products we use every day – contain chemicals made from petroleum. But researchers at the University of Delaware can now offer manufacturers a much sweeter alternative to this fossil fuel.”
“Growing vegetables slowly and gently, in full accord with nature”
At The Chef’s Garden, we are committed to agricultural sustainability and, for us, the foundation of the philosophy focuses on the soil. We continually replenish our soil with nutrients, to ensure that we grow the most nutritionally dense fresh vegetables, edible flowers, microgreens and herbs and more. Through our sustainable agricultural practices, we naturally replenish our soil and give our produce time to grow, so we can hand harvest and deliver produce with unrivaled flavor and quality.
We embrace traditional farming techniques and philosophies, ones that have sustained farmers for generations. As just one example, we let our soil rest in fallow fields to revitalize it, and we also strategically plant cover crops to enrich it with nutritionally-dense compost. We avoid the use of harmful pesticides and other chemicals, ones often used by other farms.
Here’s more information about our sustainable agricultural practices.