Patrick Robinson
The very first pizza to be cooked in the Barton Street P-Patch Community oven was bubbling away at around 800 degrees on Sept. 11. The oven, built to be the first community oven in Seattle took about a year to complete with all volunteer labor.

SLIDESHOW: Barton Street P-Patch fires up Seattle's first community pizza oven

It took a full year to get it completed but the Barton Street P-Patch (itself only 2 1/2 years old) fired up its community pizza/bread oven on Sept. 11 and fed many of the volunteers who made it happen. The oven designed by architect Chris Luthi and built largely by Luthi and Kate Farley is flanked by cement counters for food preparation, and an arbor that will become home for a vine in the future. The P-Patch is located at 34th SW and SW Barton Street.

Luthi who has built 12 others in people's homes said, "I've always wanted to do this. It's based on a French community oven, and I've built in backyards but really the place for it is in a public place. I think this is the first one in a public place in Seattle."

Farley said, "This is the culmination of a huge amount of effort, physical effort. We had a core of me and Chris including Mikael Donnelly, and others. Then when we needed a big crowd to build the countertops everybody pitched in."

The oven is not quite finished. Some stone facing needs to be completed and a few items need to be tidied up but it's absolutely in working condition.

"For me it's the whole idea of community...that's such a buzz word but it's true. This has the power to bring people together in a way that is so warm and gardeny. It's old school. Like I said to Chris one day, 'We gotta teach people how to do slow food. Here we are in this fast intersection, getting crazier every day. We're here doing slow food the old Italian way."

The training on how to use the oven came from Tom Rzegocki of Tom's In Home Cooking. He provided instruction on how to read the fire and how to avoid corn meal flare ups.

The P-Patch will celebrate with a full Harvest Festival on October 12 (time not yet set) open to everyone to come and see the finished oven, and enjoy the garden.

Future plans being considered are public fundraising events for worthy causes, celebrations, and much more. "We have so many ideas," said Farley.

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