Last weekend, Cold Creek Compost made an appearance at the Hispanic Heritage Fair in Ukiah, hosted by our local paper Al Punto. Our booth featured samples of our products and was staffed by our highly qualified crew!
The creation of compost has a long history dating back thousands of years, and the product itself is still highly popular as soil amendment for both large-scale farms and small home gardens. However, most people only have a vague idea of what compost is and definitions can vary. In simple terms, compost is made by blending together green waste (such as grass, leaves, and food waste) with brown waste (which includes woody materials like stalks, tree branches, and paper). Then, over a period of multiple months, these materials break down; the process of decomposition is promoted by grinding or shredding the materials, keeping the mixture wet, and providing necessary aeration by flipping the mixture or otherwise turning it. A well-cultivated compost pile results in a thriving environment that contains fungi, bacteria, and other decomposers, all of which contribute to the breaking down of the waste materials, as well the nutritious value of the compost itself.
One of the most important parts of creating compost is making sure the ingredients involved will not produce a final product that is a potential contaminant, which can result in a food safety issue. Proper aeration is necessary to meet FDA guidelines for producing safe compost, especially when in large batches. A compost pile with too hot a temperature for multiple consecutive days is a cause for concern, and some materials are not recommended for composting. For example, in smaller batches containing meat products can result in the mixture overheating, and also has an unpleasant smell that can attract animals. Adding ash or charcoal to one’s compost pile is also not recommended, as such materials contain high amounts of sulfur which can negatively affect plant growth. Though the composting process can seem complicated and difficult to get started yourself, there are plenty of free resources available on the web for composting. For more information on how to cultivate your own compost, below are a few links to pages that can get you started.
A good introduction to home composting:
United States Environmental Protection Agency: Composting at Home
Learn more about the uses of compost and its impact on the environment:
Compost and Mulch by CalRecycle
Dive deeper into perfecting your own compost pile:
Sydney Gardeners Ultimate Guide to Composting
List of materials that can and can’t be composted:
What Can Be Composted by Personal Creations
A guide to more resources on composting:
Compost Resources by Compost Foundation
Any press is good press? Not always. Cold Creek Compost is happy to make the news in AgAlert’s latest publication, but the article points out a tricky subject in our industry. California is well-known for its stringent environmental regulation, and Cold Creek Compost has long felt the strain of those regulations. While our primary function – composting waste – is good for the planet, there are many steps in the process that have environmental impacts. AgAlert’s article points out that diesel, which is the primary fuel for shipping and processing organics, is subject to strict environmental regulations that are becoming increasingly costly to meet. Our industry, and the trucking industry on which we rely, has no choice but to increase our rates to be able to afford to comply with regulations. Next time you wonder why our delicious compost costs so much, know that a large part of that cost goes to making our processes cleaner, albeit more expensive.
Photo credit: AgAlert/Caleb Hampton
Our compost facility is a great place for your food waste to end up, but it’s even better if food never becomes waste at all. Produce gleaning is a great practice where ambitious individuals find fruit and vegetables that would otherwise rot on the vine and put it to good use. Farm to Pantry does just that. In addition, Farm to Pantry hosts community gardens to help feed those in need. Cold Creek Compost happily donated some compost to help their community gardens thrive. If you’re feeling generous, you might consider donating as well. I hear they love volunteers, too…
This article highlights an exciting pilot project on the financial benefits of carbon sequestration through compost application. The Gold Ridge Resource Conservation District (RCD) conducted the project to explore the potential of compost in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and sequestering carbon from the atmosphere. The results were impressive, demonstrating that compost can significantly reduce the costs of fertilizers and other inputs while improving crop yields. This is great news for farmers and anyone interested in sustainable agriculture practices as it provides a cost-effective solution to address pressing environmental issues. On top of all that, this is yet another source of funding to help you get better crops for less money.
How do we make the world a better place? We Sway the Future. Specifically, we reduce our dependence on petroleum plastics by switching to better alternatives, like seaweed-based plastics. It’s no secret that the occasional plastic bag ends up in the compost bin. Imagine if that plastic simply composted like a piece of paper or a leaf of seaweed… Our job would certainly be easier. We were happy to work with Sway to do some pilot tests on the viability of their bio-based plastic products in our compost. Spoiler Alert: it composts great!
Sway was recently featured in this Business Insider piece, and they gave Cold Creek Compost a shout-out.
Word of Mouth is a great community magazine about food and agriculture here in Mendocino County. We were honored to be mentioned in their Summer article on compost in California. Give their website a look for more information about all that Mendocino County has to offer. Here’s a Fall shot of the hills around Potter Valley.
Bummed you missed Cold Creek Compost’s big Summer Sale? Well, the discounts keep coming. Zero Waste Sonoma is offering Sonoma County compost users a juicy 10% discount on compost purchase until next Summer, up to $25,000 off. All it takes is a little bit of paperwork. Get your discount here. Once you’ve got that sorted out, call us up and we’ll be ecstatic to deliver to you!
One of our favorite customers is Peace & Plenty Farm. Among other tasty treats, they produce saffron by the bushel. Anyone concerned about low cannabis prices might look to saffron as an alternative; it goes for $5,000 per pound! Read a little about their farm here. Photo by Thomas J. Story.