Pitango Gelato Goes Solar

Pitango Gelato has been committed to eco-friendly practices since the company opened its doors in 2007. Now, in addition to the measures Pitango already takes to reduce energy and minimize waste, the company’s dairy facility in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, has converted to solar power.

The dairy is located on Spring Wood Organic Farm, where a single herd of grass-fed cows supplies all of the milk and cream used in Pitango’s organic gelato. The farm’s new solar panels  are generating enough electricity to operate the farm and the dairy.

Aside from long-term economic incentives, Spring Wood owner Roman Stoltzfoos decided to go solar to reduce the farm’s carbon footprint. “It is a substantial investment for us, but it is clearly the right thing to do to make the farm and the dairy greener,” he says. “We’ll be using much less fossil fuel for what we have to do.”

The farm even uses a solar panel on its high-tech “Egg-Mobile,” which houses free-range hens that provide the daily supply of freshly laid eggs used in some of Pitango’s recipes. The hen house on wheels with solar-powered feeders, lights, egg laying boxes, and doors “delivers all of the modern bells and whistles,” says Stoltzfoos, “with minimal environmental impact.”

“It’s not always easy being green,” says Pitango Gelato founder and CEO Noah Dan. “A large component of our product is energy, so naturally we think about it all the time. For us, being green is being smart, and finding a path to improve our product and its sustainability is our ultimate goal.”

The shift toward solar on the farm is only one example of Pitango’s energy-efficient practices. Pitango’s custom-made bancone (gelato cases) used in each shop are liquid-cooled by glycol–an energy-retaining liquid derived from corn. Once the glycol is adequately cooled, it requires very little energy to maintain a temperature that is optimal for storing the gelato at the perfect consistency, with each flavor in its own sealed compartment. Dan estimates that Pitango’s bancone consume as little as one-tenth of the electricity of comparable air-cooled display cases. Pitango also uses biodegradable serving cups, coffee cups and gelato spoons.

Pitango matches its eco-friendly practices with a commitment to create a healthier product. The company’s artisanal gelato contains less fat than premium ice cream, while its sorbets contain no dairy products and are vegan and fat-free.

Made with ingredients, from fresh local fruit to organic chocolate, Pitango’s products contain no flavorings, colorings, or chemicals of any kind.

Gristle Book Party and Climate Lab Turns One

Wednesday April 7th

Book Party for Gristle

Moby and Miyun Park, the executive director of the Global Animal Partnership, have brought together 15 contributors in an informative collection that examines how industrial farming is affecting the way we live.

Contributors run the gamut from John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods, to Lauren Bush, model and co-founder of FEED Projects. There are vegans, vegetarians, and omnivores alike and topics such as big government, parenting, occupational safety, and more.

Cost: Free
When: 6:30-8
Where: Busboys and Poets, 2021 14th St., NW

Win a copy of Gristle!
Follow @GoingGreenDC and tweet “RT and follow for a chance to win a copy of Gristle–the new book from Moby from GoingGreenDC” for a chance to win one of five books.

Five winners will be selected using Random.org by 5pm EST on April 9th, 2010. One entry per person (duplicate entries will be deleted). Winners will be contacted via email after contest has ended.  Book ships via publisher to U.S. addresses only.

Climate Lab’s First Birthday Party

Climate Lab, a DC-based non-profit, has been running a climate change wiki site for one year, providing a platform for collaborating and sharing information on climate related issues. The party will feature a live band, food, drink specials, and birthday cake. Learn more on the group’s Facebook page.

Cost: $10 suggested donation.
When: 6:30-9:30pm
Where: Local 16, 1602 U St., NW

Event: Farm to Fork Dinner

Farm fresh tomatoes are playing a starring role in a special five-course feast at Evening Star Cafe in Del Ray on Wednesday September 10th. The dinner, also hosted by Planet Wine and FRESHFARM Markets, is being prepared by Chef Will Artley and will feature local products from Three Way Farm, Eight Acres Farm, Smith Meadows Farm, and Dragon Creek Aqua Farm. All of the evening’s wines will be sourced from several Virginia wineries.

Farmfresh Market Dinner Menu

Cherry Tomato “BLT”

with Housemade Ricotta, Braised Bacon, Shallot & Parsley Salad

Trio of Tomatoes:

Tomato Salad with Arugula Pesto and Garlic Chips,

Yellow Tomato Gazpacho with Spicy Cucumber Ice,

Shrimp Fritter with Smoked Tomato Aioli

Seared Sea Scallop

with Tomato Carpachio, Wild Mushroom Ragout, Sweet Virgina Corm Sabayon & Basil Essence

Grilled Beef Tenderloin

with Tomato and Blue Cheese Gnocchi & Tomato Caviar and Napoleon of Ratatouille

Sweet Heirloom Tomato Tart

with Basil Ice Cream

The dinner costs $75 and includes wine but not tax or gratuity. For reservations, call Evening Star Cafe at 703-549-5051.

CSA The Day

The Washington Post has a useful article about local community-supported agriculture programs (CSAs). For an annual membership fee, you’ll receive a weekly box of seasonal produce for a set number of weeks. By participating, you not only support local farmers, but you also assure that you will be well stocked with delicious fruits and vegetables that aren’t shipped half way across the world. According to writer Walter Nicholls, more farmers than ever are participating this year and shares sell out fast. So even though it’s still chilly outside, now is the time to sign up.