On the road to sustainability

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Since moving to our new production kitchen and premises at 54 Staniforth Road we have become increasingly interested in how to develop more sustainability. 

We have been extremely impressed with our Nissan electric van since taking delivery in March.  This was sourced through the Inmotion Scheme which adds very favourable grants for business.  We are able to charge the van via the 39 panels installed on our roof which effectively makes the running costs free and not to say zero carbon!

Rob Samuelson from jump energy and peter moulam at pj taste on the completion of the solar install - with our locally sustainable sheffield egg!

Rob Samuelson from jump energy and peter moulam at pj taste on the completion of the solar install - with our locally sustainable sheffield egg!

Now working on the refurbishment of floor 2 at Staniforth Road we are keen to incorporate as many features as possible to increase the sustainability of resources used in years to come.  Built into the plan so far are effective insulation, low energy lighting, rain water harvesting and grey water harvesting (of excess kitchen water use) as well as indoor growing!  This will involve extending our recent experiments in growing micro greens indoors to incorporating it as a key feature in the new space.  With Sheffield Architects Burnell Briercliffe working with us on the scheme we would welcome any further tips on building sustainability into this refurbishment.

its simple to grow a range of "microgreens" indoors supplying excellent leaves for garnish and smaller salads - saves importing and transporting from external suppliers

its simple to grow a range of "microgreens" indoors supplying excellent leaves for garnish and smaller salads - saves importing and transporting from external suppliers

Talking about growing we are extending the volume of crops we grow ourselves and are looking for land on which to develop an Urban Forrest style garden.  The ambition would be to grow more unusual perennial plants, bushes and trees to produce crops which we can then use and preserve for out of season use within our menus.  Of course some supplies are hard to grow and source locally.  Whilst we obtain excellent organic Yorkshire flours and oats from Driffield, sugar at the moment is a more global commodity.  It is arguably grown relatively unsustainably in the UK (see my previous post here) so its good to see the progress of our Stevia growing experiment.  Planted out in June the foliage has developed well and we are looking forward to our first harvest in the Autumn.  Once dried we can make a dried powder and a liquid sugar substitute.  On a larger scale it could make a significant contribution to our sweetening needs.  We will be taking cuttings in the Autumn and try to sustain more plants through the winter.  They are not frost hardy so we will need need to think about this.

Stevia plants july 2015 - lets have some more sun!

Stevia plants july 2015 - lets have some more sun!

On the waste front we have a way to go.  We do compost all our organic kitchen waste and recycle cardboard and glass but our general waste bin always seems to fill up fast.  Good kitchen management can help by using just in time stock ordering, sensible portion planning, preservation techniques and clever use by-products.  This should result in virtually no direct waste of ingredients although packaging of ingredients always seems excessive - any ideas to reduce this? 

Our ultimate aim is to produce creative and exciting food for your event that is as near to carbon free as possible.  See our menus here and watch our progress!