Green Living Project Goes Domestic: A Visit to Primo Restaurant in Maine
This past August, I traveled as a writer and social networker with Green Living Project, a non-profit organization that films sustainable programs across the world for inspirational and educational purposes. In GLP's two-year history, the organization has documented over thirty diverse projects in ten countries across Latin America and Africa. I joined Green Living Project’s first domestic trip in the land of plump lobsters, historical small-town reminiscing, and tongue-staining summer blueberries in Maine.
Rarely are guests encouraged to explore the grounds of a restaurant, but at Primo, in Rockport, co-owners Chef Melissa Kelly and Bakery/Pastry Chef Price Kushner take the concept of customer education very seriously. Situated on one and a half acres, Primo’s gardens—with their biofueled greenhouses full of produce and edible flowers, hives buzzing with Italian honeybees, plots of herbs, a large pigpen for the Tamworth pigs, and even a chicken coop—literally pulsed with life.
Due to their sporadic lunges towards the camera and, admittedly, our wagging fingers, the reddish-feathered Golden Comet chickens were Green Living Project’s favorite garden feature. Known as “the girls” by Chef Kelly, they are perhaps the most multitalented garden attraction.
Laying up to 90 large, brown eggs per day, all typically consumed by nightfall, the girls also serve as the garden maintenance crew. Each time Primo’s gardeners rotate a crop, the mobile coop is placed upon the barren soil where the chickens peck and scratch away any organic remnants. As the days shorten in the approaching weeks, the girls will be moved to the upper green house and supplemented by a synthetic light to encourage egg production. Come fall of 2010, Chef Kelly and the gardeners will decide what to do with the aging chickens-most likely the 100 chickens will make a cameo appearance on the seasonal menu.
Consequentially, the girls are a prime measurement of Primo’s sustainable kitchen as they create a system of reciprocity—from garden to kitchen back to the garden and again to the kitchen—making self-sufficiency everything it’s cracked up to be.
Guest blogger Adrienne Rosenberg is a writer and social networker for the Green Living Project