Pitango Gelato Goes Solar

By Sacha Cohen of GoingGreenDC.net
|  Tuesday, Jul 20, 2010  |  Updated 2:01 PM EDT
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Pitango Gelato Goes Solar

Pitango Gelato

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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, Pa., 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 said. "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," Stoltzfoos said, "with minimal environmental impact."

"It's not always easy being green," Pitango Gelato founder and CEO Noah Dan said. "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.

More recent articles about the D.C.-area green scene from GoingGreenDC.net:

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