Yesterday morning a DIY Pizza Kit box was delivered to my door, before I attended a virtual tutorial on how to make the freshest pizza ever! Hosted by CropSwap, I learned they along with Golden State Papayas are assembling seasonally-themed breakfast kit boxes (gluten-free granola, nut milk, berry baskets) pantry staples, apple boxes with 5 different varieties and a jar of salted caramel dipping sauce, mushroom boxes and pizza kit boxes sourced from local vendors and farms. What great gifts to give loved ones staying safer-at-home.
Lauren Monteil from local farm Golden State Papayas led a group of writers and influencers through an “unboxing” of the the organic produce and locally-sourced ingredients included in each Pizza Box.
There were 5 just-picked apples, three different types of lettuces and beautiful mushrooms from Santa Barbara based Golden State Papayas farm. The farm first brought Hawaiian papaya to the West Coast 7 years ago and sold them at So Cal’s Farmers Markets. With a large greenhouse, they cultivated their own Golden State Papaya non GMO mushrooms in soil with no chemical pesticides or synthetic fertilizers. Lauren said her Yellow Mushrooms taste like cashews, and her Cinnamon Cap mushrooms offer an earthy and nutty flavor.
Lauren said she reached out to her farm friends to create these Pizza Kit boxes, so people could enjoy her mushrooms in different ways. He friends supplied the rest of the fresh ingredients.
One friend is Lauren’s neighbor, Martina Buckley. Not only is she a wonderful cook, she makes the chunkiest supergreens pesto. Lauren thought this would make an ideal topping for the pizza dough, besides her mushrooms. Inside the box was an 8oz jar of raw supergreens vegan pesto from Martina Buckley’s The Count of Monte Pesto. It’s made with roasted hazelnut, basil, healthy greens, olive oil, garlic, pumpkin seeds and lemon zest on top. This also makes a fabulous salad dressing.
A container of pure white pizza dough was from Lupa Cotta‘s creator Ines Glaser. Trained at the AVPN school in Naples, Italy, and a pizzaiola at Sotto in Los Angeles, her pizza dough combines three different types of flour – American, Italian and Californian to create a wonderful depth of flavor rarely found in store-bought dough. It was easy to form into two discs.
Heating the oven to 450 degrees, we placed the two dough discs on a cookie sheet with a sheen of olive oil. Next we cut up two apples and placed that on the cookie sheet, along with sliced mushrooms, and chopped radicchio and frisee.
Martina was so entertaining in the pizza making tutorial via Zoom while showing us an easy-to-follow recipe on how to make an exquisite artisanal pizza and salad for lunch.
After a few minutes, we took the cookie sheet out and spread the chunky green pesto on top of the dough and added the most delicate goat cheese from Drake Family Farms, This So Cal farm is owned by a veterinarian. The Chevre in the box was made from goats who are free to go wherever they please around indoor and outdoor areas of the farm. Their diet is alfalfa hay, Bermuda grass hay, leaves, browse from the trees on the farm and barley grain.
Within minutes, we all had two pizzas, and salad made from the produce provided in our box. Martina said to add a little Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar to turn her pesto into a fabulous salad dressing.
Since October 2018, Crop Swap LA has united gardeners across Los Angeles to grow and share their extra veggies, fruits, herbs, and valuable homemade items with each other and the community. With the pandemic, the abundance is enormous.
Here’s how to order a produce box to make your own pizza. Go to the CropSwap farm-to-phone app. It provides convenient access to sustainable local farmers and growers in your community, CropSwap offers new experiential subscription box that go beyond their regular harvest boxes.