Indian summer and a travelling pizza oven, september at Fist of Flour

I sit, extremely tired, at the end of another month. One last gig tomorrow at Beer Revolution, and August comes to a close. Pretty darn amazing. Amazing i made it through my first summer as a legal and sometimes not so legal street food vendor. Yes I said it sometimes not. And I do this for a couple of reasons, both of which I’m not sure are going to get me anywhere, but right now its what I believe in. The First reason is because I love the thrill of going out and meeting people, and sharing my product and my creation with the community.

Take for example, yesterdays happening at the Berkeley Art Museum, and I do believe it was just that. Totally happening. Celebrating 40 years of Alice Water’s Chez Panise and the Edible schoolyard, OPENRestaurant organized an amazing day of Food activities including a Pedal Powered Grinding Food mill contraption, Live goats for milking, fresh made soups, Aguas frescas, and tamales right on the premesis. I took part in the Baking of several dozen loaves of Digger’s Bread, and meeting two of the original SF Diggers. not to mention Working with Steve Sullivan from ACME bakery, and Chris Sollars, and SF based artist and super cool dude. I think we all got a little toasty under the sun, along with the close to 200 Little loaves we baked in two ovens (guesstimate) we had 50 lbs. of Flour, and we did 9 oz. cans mostly. 4 main batches of 40-50 cans each. The second oven was supplied by Quill from Paso Robles, he hand builds Massive bread ovens for people, and needed to bring this one up to the Bay Area to ship it off to its owner in Hawaii. We got to hear some great stories from the mid to late 60’s era free food movement these folks were promoting and powering though with, feeding hundreds of people and doing what was necessary to build community. The whole event had a great vibe and it was a pleasure to take part in it.

The second reason is I knead the dough, you knough? Times are tough all around but people always need good food. The Bay Area is full of Legitimate opportunities for a Temporary Food Facility like mine. Yes, a TFF as it is known down at the County Health Department, and in order for a TFF to get a permit, the event needs to be acknowledged by that very same department, provided they are contacted by the event organizers and are notified of said event. The organizer needs to obtain a Permit to allow permits to be obtained by Vendors. Basically I can’t get a permit from the county if they don’t know the event exists, that’s how it works in this county, Alameda. Just for the record, I know this. I get permits for every event that asks me to obtain one.

I would get a year round permit from them, but they have yet to figure out how to allow my trailer to be permitted. I’m too big for a push cart and too exposed to be considered as a “Taco Truck.” In their defense, I have not tried too hard investigating how to get my trailer up to “Code,” if there is such a thing for a mobile Pizza Oven. Sometimes things happen that don’t follow protocol, and sometimes I participate in them, operating under the same guidelines and conditions we follow with permits.

My shit is legit. Our food is safe, blast-furnace style cooking at 950° ensures proper cooking of all ingredients. Hot and cold running water with soap can wash any utensils onsite. I’ve been inspected by Berkeley, Alameda, SF, and Contra Costa Co. and have passed every time, learning more each time we go out. For example, did you know that the fire extinguishers you buy at the Box stores are disposable? They can’t be recharged or checked by a fire inspector, so we gotta upgrade those to ones that can be. My propane set up, though directly under the outside corner of the oven, proved to be safe and not leaking. My Fire is completely contained, check. Ice in trays, check. lids on everything, check.

Next stop, Art Murmur Permit in hand, we’ll be rolling out this friday to kick off September here in the bay area. Check our website for the latest schedule updates here: Calendar of Events See you next time on the streets.

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