By Curt Peterson
On Friday, Oct.16, Hartland residents celebrated the unveiling of the town’s new community pizza oven during the drive-through Farmers’ Market amid a significant downpour. Everyone who asked was served a free slice of pizza baked in the brand new wood-fired oven.
“We made twenty pizzas with eight slices each,” Farmers’ Market manager Brian Stroffolino told the Mountain Times. “That’s one-hundred sixty slices – all gone!”
Community – 1, Pandemic/rainstorm – 0. A big win for the Home Team.
And the pizza got quite a few listserv compliments.
“My pizza this evening had a crust to die for, and a sauce … oh, so good,” wrote Selectman Phil Hobbie on the Hartland listserv, citing the long history of “town ovens” in Egypt, Rome and Naples, home of the first pizza oven.
The Community Pizza Oven Steering Committee, including Stroffolino, his wife Melissa Wyman, Jeffrey Hamelman, Jesse Hills, Tina Barney, Tom Graham and Sarah White, got Select Board and Hartland Library blessing for the project in the fall of 2018, and Hartland voters approved $2,000 funding at 2019 Town Meeting.
Final cost of the oven on town property was $3,000, the difference made up by private donors.
“Local contractors Garcia Excavation, D&D Excavating and Brockway Enterprises contributed materials and labor to complete the project,” Stroffolino said.
So far wood fuel has been donated.
The committee fired up the oven on Sept. 30 to make sure it was ready for prime-time pizza-making.
The purpose for the oven project is threefold. “Of course, providing pizza for the Farmers’ Market is one purpose,” Stroffolino said. “We will also use it to teach Hartland students about wood-fired food, and to make it available for private and community events.”
If someone wants to rent the facility, volunteers will either operate the oven or train users how to cook in it safely and efficiently.
“I look forward to future events when we can all safely gather around fire and food,” Stroffolino wrote on the listserv.