4-H day campers explore region for pizza ingredients

Article Published: Jul. 26, 2012 | Modified: Jul. 26, 2012
4-H day campers explore region for pizza ingredients

Margie Mansure’s daughter, Elaine, milks a cow as part of the Pizza Adventure day camp, where students learn where their pizza ingredients come from.

Photo submitted

What kind of pizza would you be able to make if all the ingredients had to come from within a 30-mile radius of Boone?

Kids participating in 4-H camp this week are finding out.

Local Kids for Local Foods, the Pizza Adventure day camp has been showing kids where their food comes from for the past eight years.

During our initial discussion, one camper wonders, “Why don’t we just go to Walmart and buy a pizza from the freezer?”

We begin our journey with a visit to a homestead with Jersey cows and other farm animals. Everyone has the opportunity to milk a cow, and then visit Ashe County cheese to see how pizza cheese is made. We learn that pepperoni and sausage comes from cute, muddy pigs.

As we explore, we purchase pizza toppings, such as garlic, sausage, herbs, peppers, tomatoes, and zucchini, at local farms and the farmers’ market.

With the closing of the Trade grist mill, our only missing ingredient is locally ground flour, so we buy some from a local store. There’s nothing quite like homemade crust to top. Each child prepares a small pizza crust and chooses toppings.

Our hope is that every camper appreciates the effort that goes into making food, from farm to fork. When given a choice between fresh or frozen pizza, they will thoroughly understand the differences.

High Country Pizza

Ingredients for crust:
1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
1 ½ cup whole wheat flour
1 package rapid-rise yeast
1 cup very warm water (125 to 130 degrees)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt

In a large bowl, combine 1½ cups whole wheat flour, package of yeast and salt.
Stir in very warm water and olive oil.
Stir in all-purpose flour gradually.
Knead until elastic and smooth, for eight to 10 minutes. You may need to add more all-purpose flour if still sticky.
Place dough ball in bowl in warm place, cover with towel, and let sit for 10 minutes.
Roll the dough ball out with a rolling pin, or stretch across pizza pan.
Top with spaghetti sauce or pesto.
Then choose locally grown toppings:

Garlic, minced
Tomato, sliced or chopped
Bell pepper, chopped
Herbs, such as basil or oregano, finely chopped
Sausage, browned
Ashe County cheese
Goat cheese from farmers’ markets

Place in a preheated 400 degree oven and bake for around 20 minutes, or until cheese is golden.

If you are interested in learning more about where your food comes from, take the High Country farm tour on Aug. 4 and 5 from 2 to 6 p.m. each day. It’s a $25 charge per vehicle for both days. Great family or social outing. For more information, visit http://farmtour.brwia.org.

Margie Mansure, M.S., R.D., is a registered dietitian and nutritionist and extension agent with the N.C. Cooperative Extension. She offers personalized classes to improve the health of citizens in Watauga County through worksites, schools and community groups. For more information, email margie_mansure@ncsu.edu or call (828) 264-3061.

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