Coffee chaff, dried banana peels, chicken bones and molding leftovers are finding new life thanks to the mother-daughter duo behind Compost Queens.
Opened in 2017, the business that’s run by Betsy Gruy and daughter Kate Jaceldo works with area residents and businesses to turn food waste into organic matter that can enrich soil at farms and urban gardens.
A longtime gardener, Gruy came up with the idea after seeing a documentary about a composting business in Brooklyn. She shared her thoughts with Jaceldo, then a school social worker, and the two began experimenting at home, mixing food scraps with bokashi flakes they made by fermenting leftover coffee chaff (skin from roasted coffee beans) from local roaster What’s Brewing?. It took a few tries but the end result was a compost material that could be added to enrich soil. After piloting their concept with friends, they expanded to the public and now offer compost pickup for residents and businesses, including Overland Partners and Pharm Table, plus composting for events. A drop-off option also is available.
Each client receives a bin and bokashi flakes that they can layer into their food waste. Once collected, the compost material is delivered to Talking Tree Farm and other farms or gardens where it’s used to make mulch that, in turn, allows for healthier soil and plants.
The Compost Queens joined Pearl Farmers Market earlier this year. They’re also partnering with the San Antonio Housing Authority on an East Side community garden set to open later this year and Jaceldo says they hope the growth only continues from there.