Where’s the Toothpick? Lessons in Sustainability at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market

I saw cheese. I wanted to try. I couldn’t figure out how. Where were the toothpicks?!?!

While in San Francisco last month, my guide Justin took me to the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. Browsing the strange, west coast juxtaposition of (summer) tomatoes—which are grown without water and is apparently a thing out there—and (winter) squashes and (tropical) avocados, brought this Northeasterner much pleasure and jealousy. But I found my curiosity pointed to a particular paper product.

I saw a stack of thin paperboard (pictured above) where a cup of toothpicks should have been. We got to the market late. My stomach growled. I needed samples to carry on, but my cross-country journey left me with little brain capacity.

How. To. Eat. Cheese. Where. Toothpick. Caveman thoughts bounced around in my head.

What. Is. Paper. Thing.

I grabbed it. Couldn’t figure it out. Justin reiterated the message printed on the paper, “Press the dots together.” I couldn’t. He then took it from me and folded the paper to create a spoon-like contraption.

See below.

I then scooped up a cheese sample. All was right in the world of free-loading farmers market lovers. And, according to EcoTensil, the makers of this fine instrument for cheese eating, the world will be a better place with this recycleable and compostable (in 3-5 weeks)—and now user-friendly—paper spoon.


You may also like


  • erica November 2, 2011  

    does a toothpick really use more resources/energy to produce than this? just curious. i would like a chart.

  • MaryAlice November 2, 2011  

    Wondering with erica. This has to be manufactured somehow. Also, squashes are paired with winter. I suppose you know winter squashes are grown in summer and keep through the winter, which is, I suspect, why they have that name?

  • Kyle November 2, 2011  

    I’m with them. I think it’s a cute little scoop, but it seems like a wooden toothpick would be less of an environmental burden. Love the idea, though.

Leave a comment