Aug 21 - Cows Munch On Recycled Goodies

Food processing plants are providing dairy cows with a "gourmet diet" of fruits and vegetables in Elkhorn Slough. The Moon Glow Dairy uses the leftover food in lieu of having it sent to landfills, while saving Lou Calcagno 10-15 percent on yearly feed costs. Emily Saarman of the Santa Cruz Sentinel reports that the dairy famr also participate in other recycling efforts, including drying the cow's manure to sell for use as fertilizer.

MOSS LANDING — Along the shores of Elkhorn Slough, Lou Calcagno of Moon Glow Dairy adds a green twist of recycling to the age-old tradition of dairy farming.

Calcagno's 900 dairy cows feast on a gourmet diet of vegetable and fruit scraps from local food processing plants including apple pulp from S. Martinelli and Co., cull artichokes from Ocean Mist Farms, and broccoli from Mann Packing Co. Inc.

"If we weren't using this food it would have to go to a landfill," said Calcagno, who is also a Monterey County supervisor.

The lot where Calcagno formulates the cattle feed resembles a giant salad bar with chest-high piles of carrots, artichokes and fruit peelings. Some things, such as the fruit peelings, are clearly, well, garbage. Others have been tossed for tiny faults — short misshapen carrots and prickly overblown artichokes make their way into the feed piles because they don't meet consumer standards.

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