I think it's a wonderful item and exactly what I was looking for! I just joined the forum/site/etc. and I was looking for a mystic scroll type item to throw at my "scrounging" character. Exactly what his sticky little fingers need!
The heroes stop in a small town ready to restock their traveling supplies and feed for their animals. All of the villagers are starving, and there is no food to be had. If the PCs are quick witted, their noble steeds might be slaughtered for food.