This week, we were treated to a delicious meal on the front lines of the Black Revolution. Shibumi, an authentic Japanese Izakaya in Santa Fe, NM, is one of a handful of cutting-edge restaurants using biochar to grow their own food.
We met with owner and executive chef, Eric Stapleman, who learned about biochar via the internet approximately 1 year ago. Since then, Eric has started an herb and vegetable garden behind the restaurant, which he amends with a mix of biochar and compost.
Eric’s biochar comes from the leftover charcoal dust used by the restaurant’s hibachi. Eric only purchases japanese charcoal, prized for its flavor and quality. He takes the dust and adds it to his home composter. After several weeks, he applies the biochar/compost mix to his raised beds growing everything from carbon-negative arugala to mountain strawberries.
According to Stapleman, biochar has allowed him to grow more food, earlier in the season. He is eager to determine if the use of biochar improves or alters the taste of any ingredients. We will be providing Eric with a supply of Black Revolution to test its effectiveness as a carbon-negative growth media in his raised beds. We hope that other restauranteurs and chefs will follow suit and begin experimenting with biochar.
The next stop in our tour of restaurants joining the Black Revolution is New York City’s Blue Hill Farm. Please stay tuned!