Musket Ridge Golf Club will be transformed to zero food waste through an on-site “bokashi” composting program.
Not many wedding photo albums include a picture of the beautiful bride scraping wedding cake off a plate into a compost pile. But that was exactly what a publicity photo released by Musket Ridge Golf Club in Meyersville, Md., shows, to demonstrate just how dedicated the club is to its new zero-waste food initiative that it is implementing throughout its golf course, restaurant and wedding/banquet facility.
All of those operations will now be transformed to zero food waste through an on-site “bokashi” composting program. Originated from Asian cultures, bokashi uses fermentation to break down all food scraps, including meat, dairy and oils, in less than half the time of conventional composting, while avoiding unpleasant odors and deterring pests. The end product is a natural liquid fertilizer that greatly increases the population of beneficial microbes, adding valuable nutrients to the compost and helping improve the health of soil and plants.
Musket Ridge plans to use the bokashi, compost, and compost tea generated through the initiative to promote the health and growth of a new organic vegetable and herb garden that is being developed by the club’s Executive Chef and will produce ingredients to be featured on club menus.
“As a premier wedding venue in the area, we produce approximately 4,000 pounds of food waste per year which goes right into a landfill, where it decomposes very slowly and contributes to the production of harmful gases,” says Damon DeVito, managing director and a founder of Affinity Management in Charlottesville, Va., which manages Musket Ridge. “Many of our brides and event planners have been asking how we could help them lessen the environmental impact of their wedding, meeting or golf outing. We considered traditional composting, but it has drawbacks for a commercial kitchen. This is a whole different ballgame that doesn’t involve rotting and will handle meat and dairy, and the process is straightforward.”
Musket Ridge is also planning an educational program with local public schools to show students the importance of sustainability. The program will include tours of Musket Ridge’s zero-waste initiative and also hands-on school-garden and composting projects.
The club currently recycles all plastic, aluminum, glass and cardboard, and has contracted with a biofuel company to utilize its kitchen grease to be reproduced into fuel.
“We have owners who have brought incredible economic sustainability to our facility by eliminating every penny of borrowing,” DeVito says. “We don’t even have leases. It is a natural outgrowth that we committed to environmental sustainability.”