Mindful of their customers, quality, and the beautiful natural surroundings which make the Ojai Valley so precious to us all, Azu has put in place several initiatives and cooperative programs in order to be a conscious and responsible member of the Ojai community.
It begins with Growing Their Own. Azu has expanded it’s practice of growing their own vegetables, herbs, and fruit, and supplementing with locally raised produce, and meat. they also cultivate the flowers and plants they use for their table and bar decor. Azu General Manager, Elizabeth Haffner says “Eliminating long distance transport of these items keeps money in the community and drastically shrinks our carbon footprint, as well as giving us access to the freshest ingredients.”
This is made possible, in part, by Azu’s in House Compost Program. Azu repurposes all of it’s plant based kitchen waste as well egg shells and fish scraps to make compost for their seasonal vegetable beds and fertilizer for their fruit trees, reclaiming not only energy and time but the water used to raise these foods. Azu Cultivation and Compost program director, Jeremy Haffner says “The water content of vegetable food waste represents 24% of total water used to irrigate crops world wide. In a thirsty state, it just makes sense to maximize how much we get out of our water.” Azu has also installed water filtration systems to be able to clean and reuse their dish washing water for multiple cycles, saving thousands of gallons a year. Customers are being asked to participate in saving Ojai water by purchasing glass bottled water at cost. By not serving tap water or soda with ice in a glass, Azu is saving approximately 1/2 a gallon of water per customer. The the plants at Azu are also being watered with grey water from washing glassware, mop buckets and melted ice
To further mitigate any food waste, Azu has initiated a trade program to reclaim customer meal leftovers as feed for a local heritage breed pig farm, in turn receiving local organic pork for house made charcuterie. Azu also Donates all of it’s used cooking oil to local partners for conversion into bio diesel.
Most recently Azu has begun Up-Cycling their Consumer Packaging, producing craft homeware and restaurant products including planters, candles, and gift baskets, reusing their wine boxes and cutting and repurposing wine and liquor bottles. Gift baskets are available seasonally from Elizabeth Haffner’s “Hippie Care Package”, through Azu, containing up-cycled goods and organic Azu craft food products.
March 11, 2015 Azu and The Ojai Alisal will be hosted a fundraising event for The Ojai Defense Fund and raised over $300,000 that evening. The Ojai Valley Defense Fund provides financial support to groups undertaking legal action to protect and sustain the environmental quality of the Ojai Valley for the public benefit.
Azu is a current participant in the “1% For Ojai” movement, generating local and tourism dollars for Land Preserve, Park, and Trail conservation, in partnership with The Ojai Valley Land Conservancy. Says Chef/Owner Laurel Moore “Ojai is a verdant paradise for my Daughter Elizabeth and our family, and I want it to be the same for my granddaughter Eva, when she takes over our family business.”
AZU WATER POLICY
Due to the California water crisis Golden State Water Company has asked us to cut our usage by 36%.
We’re watering our plants with grey water from our mop buckets, 3 bin glass washing sinks, and have installed more efficient dishwashing equipment which uses 50% less water.
We are now serving beverages in glasses with ice upon request.
Ojai has no outside water source; what we have is all we have until we get more rain.
Chilled Glass Bottled Water is $1.50 (our cost). Azu is not making any profit on selling bottled water.
By serving bottled water from outside our watershed, we are saving 1/2 gallon of Ojai water per person. 1 glass of water = 4 glasses between drinking, washing, ice and dishtowels.
Summerland Cafe in Montecito has instituted the same water policy and is saving up to 1,500 gallons of water per week by having customers buy water at cost and save on washing glassware and using far less ice.
We understand that this is difficult for the customer when complimentary water has been common place for so long. However, we can't stop mopping the floors or throughly cleaning our establishment, this is one of the areas we can conserve.
We appreciate your contribution to saving our Ojai water.