Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Restaurant chickens

Pizzaiolo, an Oakland restaurant,, has installed its own chickens. When these six pullets start laying, their eggs will be part of the restasurant's fare. They include Buff Laced Polish and Exchequer Leghorns. The LA Times carried an article on the front page on August 18,,0,1964942.story.

Owner Charlie Hallowell concedes that his small flock won't ever lay enough eggs to serve the 250 customers who come to the restaurant, even on a slow night. But I applaud his ingenuity and in this case, it's the thought that counts. He's making a point about knowing where our food comes from, eating local and treating livestock humanely. Those chickens will do a lot to educate his customers, who are welcome to visit the coop.

Local food advocates are sometimes accused of being elitist, promoting food that is too expensive for an average budget. Hallowell is a graduate of Alice Waters' Chez Panisse, but he's located his business in Oakland and serves $10 pizza. Topped with an egg, $1 extra. He lives, with his wife and two children, in the apartment above the store.

Here in Cambria, south of Oakland, Fog's End Bed and Breakfast keeps four hens to provide fresh eggs to the guests, I met the proprietors through chickens. They had recently acquired chicks and we connected when they had questions about getting started. The girls have done well and enjoy their life among the backyard grape vines.

These businesses are responding to their customer's wishes. We are all heading in a good direction.

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