Word of Mouth

Pizzeria Basta's urban garden ready to sprout

While the rest of us sweltered in the heat this weekend, Kelly Whitaker and his crew at Pizzeria Basta in Boulder finished planting an urban garden, using a tiny plot of land behind the restaurant's commercial space for three beds full of tomatoes, peppers, kale, basil, rosemary, and other herbs.

The beds were a local effort; Whitaker worked with a group called Colorado Backyard Farms, which specializes in building urban gardens in small spaces. For the produce, the chef turned to Abbondanza Farms to provide the seeds for the project.

Whitaker says the garden won't provide much this summer - maybe a month's worth of the vegetables planted - but he hopes to expand next summer, possibly adding beds on the patio. But just having the garden has had an effect on his staff.

"It's really boosted morale in the kitchen, too," says Whitaker. "It's nice to look out and see vegetables growing."

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Laura Shunk was Westword's restaurant critic from 2010 to 2012; she's also been food editor at the Village Voice and a dining columnist in Beijing. Her toughest assignment had her drinking ten martinis and eating ten Caesar salads over the course of 48 hours. She still drinks martinis, but remains lukewarm on Caesar salads.
Contact: Laura Shunk