May 12, 2014 |

Five ways pizzerias are growing gardens on site

By Denise Greer

lettuce plantsMy green thumb is more of a “green thumb in training.” I’m still a bit apprehensive but here we are, it’s May and green leaves are sprouting up everywhere in my garden. Can a pizzeria grow its own produce? I’ve come across several pizzerias doing just that.

Explore the following creative ways pizzerias are growing gardens on site:

  • Backyard garden — Robert Aversa and his wife, Karen, own The Pizza Guy, Agawam, Massachusetts. Even with a limited growing season in the Northeast, the Aversas grow a garden behind the pizzeria to provide fresh herbs and produce.
  • Landscaping with ediblesUncommon Pizza in Lititz, Pennsylvania, landscapes its front exterior with a garden of herbs and produce.
  • Rooftop greenhouseRoberta’s in Brooklyn, New York, where space is extremely limited, has made use of its roof for a garden and greenhouse.
  • Vertical beds — Los Angeles-based Pizzeria Mozza installed a beautiful vertical vegetable garden, making creative use of one of its exterior wall space.
  • Patio décor gardenKaos Pizzeria’s Pearl Street location in Denver, Colorado has created a garden oasis patio for its guests to dine in.

As an independent pizzeria, growing your own produce could be a difference-maker to help you stand out from competitors. Seeing basil clipped right in front of your customers, now that resonates freshness in a major way.

Be forewarned — gardening requires a great deal of work. Before you pull out those bushes and plant tomatoes, basil and bell peppers, here are a couple of gardening basics to consider first:

  • Vegetables require at least six hours (some gardeners suggest 12 hours) of direct sunlight a day. If the available space is shady, it’s time to reconsider.
  • Gardens require a lot of man-hours — first in getting the garden built and plants started to daily watering, maintaining and harvesting.