Andrew Smith is a culinary artist, and co-owner of Junk Ditch Brewery, who prioritizes bringing the best food to his customers — as well as limiting food waste. Because of this, he works with a local farm to minimize his brewery’s waste and deliver the freshest ingredients.
“Our biggest thing here is making sure that we are giving the best possible product that we can to our customer. Being part of our community [in this way] is our way of showing kindness.”
Meet Andrew: culinary artist
Junk Ditch Brewing Company
Fort Wayne, Indiana
Andrew Smith: We buy the seed, we buy the grain, we buy the fertilizer. So that basically 100% of what a dedicated farm produces throughout the entire season ends up at our door.
(Cooks prepping food in the kitchen)
Cook 1: Casey, can I borrow your thermometer for a second?
Andrew: And things like it being an organic farm or some of those certifications, they don’t mean as much to us as being able to go there and look at the operations, see what’s going on, see how things are being treated and managed. [Speaking to cooks] Walking in, one hot chicken with a kale salad.
And if I could go to the farm on a daily, I would.
(Andrew dumps food waste into chicken pen)
These are kitchen scraps.
This cuts down our waste and the amount of trash we make by half. One of the things a lot of people don’t realize is that, there was only one in there, but we feed back the eggshells to the chickens because that helps with calcium. If your chickens end up with not enough calcium they’ll lay eggs that the shells are extremely fragile.
Even in the short transport from picking them up here, washing them, and taking them up to the restaurant, you’ll end up with a lot of eggs that crack. So we have little filled perogies, but we also have the potatoes and those are from the farm as well. So try to use as much of that farm stuff as possible.
So this goes down to the farm. The one is pig feed that doesn’t include onions, citrus or garlic, and the other’s compost. Originally, I took my first cooking job when I was 15-years-old. And after high school, I went to Johnson & Wales University and worked in a castle in England. And I spent some time in Singapore and in Thailand, took a job working for Emeril Lagasse in New Orleans.
I mean, I think that I served Fort Wayne in the sense of bringing ideas back and having ideas and having a passion for doing things. But I think that Fort Wayne was ready. I just like to cook.
I think this stuff is so cool, where you can feed back restaurant stuff to animals. Our biggest thing here is making sure that we are giving the best possible product that we can to our customer. Being part of our community and just being with our neighbors is our way of just showing kindness, is the way that we operate with that.
(Customers eating, clinking drinks at brewery)