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Pitango Gelato goes solar

New solar panels atop the dairy at Spring Wood Farm. (Noah Dan)

Pitango Gelato prides itself on sourcing sustainable ingredients. The milk comes from grass-fed cows, the fruits are mostly local and the fair-trade coffee is roasted in Baltimore. Now the company can add another line to its eco-friendly resume. Last month, the Pennsylvania dairy where the gelato is made began using solar power.

Farmer Roman Stoltzfoos mounted solar panels atop the dairy and its high-tech hen house, which houses the chickens that lay eggs for Pitango's gelato. The high-tech "egg mobile" has solar-powered feeders, lights, laying boxes and doors. Already, they are providing enough electricity to operate the farm and the dairy.

"It's great to have this kind of partner," said Noah Dan, Pitango's chief executive. Roman is "very serious about technology and the environment. That's what gets him excited."

Solar panels are, of course, a substantial investment. Dan estimates that it cost about $500,000 to install them. Stoltzfoos received government incentives as well as a small contribution from Pitango to help pay for them.

In other news, Pitango has launched a new flavor that may be my new favorite: black tea. Dan infuses the traditional sweet cream base with Ceylon tea leaves. The result is decadently creamy but refreshing. Try pairing it with the cardamom or cinnamon.

-- Jane Black

By Jane Black  |  July 12, 2010; 12:30 PM ET
Categories:  Sustainable Food  | Tags: Jane Black  
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