Sunday, July 21, 2024

Pizza on the move: Caravan Woodfired Pizza bakes artisanal pies anywhere and everywhere

Posted

LEAVENWORTH – For Caravan Woodfired Pizza, fresh, artisanal pizza is available wherever, and whenever, with its pizza oven on wheels.

“It is a relatively simple business. You pull up with the oven, you make this mobile caravan kitchen, and then serve up to 100 to 150 pizzas at a big event, and then you break it down, and [it’s a] ‘See you next time,’ kind of thing,” said Semansky.

While relatively new, Semansky is focused on catering and pop-up events, such as occasional events at Sage Mountain Natural Foods and making a regular appearance at the Leavenworth Farmers Market. At pop-up events, Caravan typically offers three different pizzas: margarita, a vegetarian, and a meat option. 

Semansky often uses local and seasonal ingredients for his pizzas, such as Snowgrass Farm’s baby kale and rhubarb, Big Dog Farm’s garlic scapes, and Sunny Pine Farm’s goat cheese. For flour, he sources from Cairnspring Mills in Mount Vernon, and Chimacum Valley Grainery on the Olympic Peninsula.

“That's basically the whole point of it, to bring people together, to eat pizza together, eat a meal together…And then also to think about like, ‘Okay, where does this come from?’” said Semansky.

Prior to starting Caravan, Semansky spent many years in the food and wine industry. He got his start in winemaking in Oregon, then came to Leavenworth for the summer of 2015 to work for Baroness Cellars. Semansky permanently moved to town in 2018, and transitioned into food and coffee, working for Argonaut Coffee and Biscuits and most recently, Mana Restaurant, where he worked as a sous chef, then managed. Over the years, Semansky bonded with his coworkers over a love for cooking, many of which are now caterers.

“On our days off, we all love cooking together…We'll have like, a big pot luck, and everybody will bring a bunch of amazing food. And so it's funny, we do it partially for income, and partially for fun as well,” said Semansky.

It wasn’t until last fall that Semansky started to consider starting a pizza business, when some of those friends convinced him to buy their pizza oven.

“[My friend] was like, ‘You know, it'd be a lot easier if I just sold it to you, hint hint’…I figured, what the heck, I may as well jump in and see if it turns into a cool dream that I could fulfill. Or, maybe I just own this huge pizza oven and use it for friends,” said Semansky.

His group of friends helped him get started, collaborating with him at catering events in the first few months. 

“For the first event, we were driving [the oven] down Western Avenue in Wenatchee to the Armour Wine release party. My friend Lily was following behind me with her car packed full of stuff…I had a smaller truck full of stuff in the back, pulling this oven that was heavier than the towing capacity of this truck, and bouncing down Western Avenue over potholes and construction sites, and I thought, ‘Wow, this is a crazy little caravan,’” said Semansky.

From there, Caravan Woodfired Pizza got its start. While serving at markets and other locations this summer, Caravan has often garnered long lines for its woodfired pizza. During its Sage Mountain pop-up on June 12, Semansky said he had a line of about 20 people fifteen minutes before they opened.

“That was a big surprise. I just felt really grateful. The reason we live in Leavenworth is because we love the community so much, and it’s the reason why we're here. It just feels really good to have it be well received by friends and strangers,” said Semansky.

Caravan Woodfired Pizza will be doing another pop-up event at Sage Mountain on July 9, as well as at Icicle Creek Center for the Arts for the Clinton Fearon & the Boogie Brown Band concert on July 27. Caravan Woodfired Pizza and Caravan Bread can often be found at the Wenatchee Night Market and the Leavenworth Farmers Market. For inquiries, Semansky can be reached at caravanwoodfired@gmail.com.

Taylor Caldwell: 509-433-7276 or taylor@ward.media

Comments

No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here