A soon-to-open pizza shop in San Francisco has food waste on the menu—and on top of all of its pies.
As the San Francisco Chronicle reports, Shuggie’s Trash Pie & Natural Wine will offer wood-fired neo-Neapolitan-style pizzas and grandma pizzas featuring ingredients and toppings that ordinarily end up in a dumpster—and, ultimately, a landfill.
Shuggie’s will buy produce that local farms would otherwise toss out as well as discarded bits and pieces of ingredients, such as cauliflower greens and snap pea ends. According to the Chronicle, Shuggie’s ricotta is made from a local farmer’s excess milk, and okara flour, which is a byproduct of tofu, will be used in their pizza dough. They will also use blemished but perfectly tasty food-waste tomatoes in their pizza sauce.
Not all ingredients will be rescued from the trash. Kayla Abe, who co-owns Shuggie’s with Chef David Murphy, told to the newspaper that they will still use standard pepperoni while also incorporating unusual proteins into their recipes, such as pork jowl paired with mussels on Shuggie’s version of a clam pizza. Also on the planned menu: garlic knots topped with ricotta and carrot top pesto as well as their spin on Hot Pockets.
Shuggie’s is scheduled to open sometime in the spring of 2021. If San Francisco’s latest coronavirus-related ban on dine-in service is still in place at that time, the 1,400-square-foot restaurant will offer delivery, takeout and outdoor dining.
Abe and Murphy cofounded Ugly Pickle Co., also located in San Francisco. Ugly Pickle uses “cosmetically challenged” produce to make private-labeled condiments like Bread N’ Buttah and Spicy Bread ‘N Buttah sandwich spreads as well as Carrot Top Chimi, Hawt Fry Ketchup, Dilly Carrots and Roasted Root Hummus. As the company’s name suggests, Ugly Pickle also offers Burger Party Dills, described as “that onion-y, stinky dill everyone seems to adore.”
Their produce “doesn’t sparkle like grocery store produce, and it probably isn’t sexy enough for your next Instagram post,” Ugly Pickle’s website explains. “What it is, though, is the three-legged carrot, the overgrown squash, the curved cucumber. Slightly misshapen, cosmetically blemished—perfectly edible, but imperfect enough to pass over.” All of these foods would most likely get tossed by farmers since they would be unappealing to consumers.
Abe and Murphy met at San Francisco’s Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, and that’s where their Ugly Pickle products are currently sold. They have also hosted food-waste pop-ups around the city.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture says about 30 percent to 40 percent of the country’s food supply goes to waste. That’s food that could have gone to feed families in need. It’s also a bad use of land, water, labor and energy, the USDA notes. In 2015, the USDA and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency joined together to set a goal to reduce the country’s food waste by 50 percent by 2030.
Abe and Murphy are doing their part to help. In Ugly Pickle’s first year, the company diverted 20,000 pounds of “unloved produce” from the country’s waste stream, according to a Kickstarter page for Shuggie’s.
“We want to make it easy for people to take climate action through their food,” Abe told the newspaper. “And we can do that by making it affordable and fun and really friggin’ tasty.”