Brookings Native Opening Kitchen, Reducing Food Waste in CA

Nov 24, 2014

A former Brookings resident is using her passion for food and community to help reduce waste in Sonoma County, California. Laci Sandoval recently completed a successful Kickstarter campaign to create Wind and Rye Kitchen, a home for numerous food related projects.

Brookings native Laci Sandoval recently completed a successful Kickstarter campaign to open Wind and Rye Kitchen in Sonoma County, California. Photo by Kate Webber Photography.

Laci Sandoval is a farmer’s daughter who knows what it’s like to eat corn fresh out of the field, and wild game harvested by her family. She carried those memories to California. Now she is hoping to help people understand and appreciate where their food comes from. She says that’s a good step toward reducing waste.

“When you know the person who grew the apple or the tomato that you’re going to eat, you’re far less likely to let it go to waste than if it’s just something that came from a supermarket shelf,” Sandoval says. “So I think if we really start from the bottom and work our way up, we’ll be able to kind of cut back on food waste from a different angle.”
Sandoval says she’ll use Wind and Rye Kitchen for classes and farm to table dinners, as well as making wedding cakes. It’s also a place for farmers to take their leftover or unsellable produce and turn into a new product. Sandoval says this fall she used a restaurant kitchen to take 500 to 900 pounds of leftover tomatoes each week and make pasta sauce, spicy bloody mary mix, and tomato base. She says the goal is to empower farmers to see that even if their produce doesn’t look perfect, it doesn’t have to go to waste.

Sandoval uses unsellable produce to make usable products like spicy bloody mary mix. Photo by Kate Webber Photography.

“They can still get value out of it,” Sandoval says. “They are spending the time and money and resources in growing these products and just because we as a society see that a tomato with a bruise on it isn’t perfect doesn’t mean that it doesn’t taste good. They deserve to be able to sell all of their hard work for a profit as well.”
Sandoval says growing up in South Dakota she learned the value of community. She says she wants to use food to expand that sense of community to her home in California.

For more information, visit Wind and Rye Kitchen's website.