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SF Mission District pizza spot brings in the dough by selling 'trash pies'

San Francisco restaurant makes pizza from blemished produce destined for compost pile
San Francisco restaurant makes pizza from blemished produce destined for compost pile 02:57

By Itay Hod

SAN FRANCISCO -- While most people go to the local market looking for perfect fruits and veggies, San Francisco restaurateur Kayla Abe is all about produce that looks like it's heading straight for the compost bin. 

"We have a bunch of ugly mushrooms here often times they're the ones that are often cracked or split or kind of grew in a funky way," she explained after picking up ingredients from the farmers market on 22nd Street in the Mission District.  

Abe will pick out the most wilted, bruised items she can find -- the uglier, the better.  

"People don't want to buy them for whatever reason," she said.  

Which is why Abe and her partner, David Murphy, are more than happy to scoop them up and serve them at their Mission restaurant, Shuggie's Trash Pie.    

"Yellowing greens, folk pass these over, and we just sautéed them up and make beautiful greens that we then throw on our pizza," Murphy explained. 

Shuggie's Trash Pie
Shuggie's Trash Pie in San Francisco's Mission District. CBS

Pretty much everything at this pizza joint has been upcylcled, from sauces made of cauliflower leaves to the dough, made from byproducts of cheese and oat milk. 

"We have at least three ingredients in every single dish that are derivative of food waste," Murphy said. 

It all started when Murphy, a trained chef, was given discarded produce from a farmer. He discovered that all those weird imperfections actually made the food taste better. 

"A lot of folks don't know that if there's a scar or a blemish, a lot of times the fruit will have to send extra sugar to heal themselves. And that actually makes those things way more tasty," he said.  

With food waste accounting for 8% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions, more and more restaurants are looking to reduce their environmental impact. Murphy and Abe hope their business model will inspire others to think about their own carbon footprint. 

"Maybe we'll start treating off-cuts and ugly vegetables with a little more reverence and actually help reverse the effects of climate change," Murphy said.  

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