If you walked by Sequim Farmers & Artisans Market (SFAM) at City Hall Plaza last Saturday, your nose may have caught the unmistakable aroma of baking crust and melted cheese.
That’s Ulivo Pizzeria, one of the newest vendors to join the SFAM family. Ulivo Pizzeria is the creation of Andrea and Megan Mingiano, newcomers to the community who are particularly passionate about bringing the art of authentic Italian, handcrafted, stone-fired pizza to Sequim.
Andrea is a third-generation pizzaiolo. In Italy’s southeastern Apulia region, Andrea’s grandfather, uncle, and father all owned pizzerias.
Pizza was a part of daily life for Andrea’s family.
“When my father worked far away, I used to spend every day as a child in my grandfather’s pizzeria,” Andrea said. “We even had a wood-fired pizza oven in the house. It was the first thing to be installed, even before the house was finished being built!”
“He’s literally made of pizza,” Megan said, laughing.
In recent years, Andrea and Megan felt a call to continue their family’s tradition.
“When Megan and I were living in London, pizza was much less accessible and very expensive,” Andrea recalled. “We realized we could make it better at home.”
Andrea and Megan returned to Italy to train under his father.
“I had to study and learn a lot, working with my father to perfect our dough technique was the most crucial step,” Andrea said. “Bread-making is considered an art. The dough itself, without toppings, has to be tasty. Our goal is to have people fall in love with our crust.”
The couple traveled to Naples on a mission to visit the oldest pizzerias in the world.
“We learned that the best pizza is not simply pizza. It is easily digestible with perfect gluten content,” Andrea said. “The carbs have been broken down into simple sugars, so it’s very light. The pizzaiolo tells you what topping combinations go together.”
“People have shared with us that our pizza shocks them,” Megan said. “They expect it to be greasy and heavy like junk food, but it’s so light and digestible. It melts in your mouth. We love seeing people so happy when they first try our pizza!”
“Eating pizza is about emotion,” Andrea said. “It’s more than just feeding yourself. We’re making food for the people who eat to truly enjoy.”
The Mingianos have found fulfillment in seeing their community treat themselves to their pizza.
“Especially with all that’s going on, it can help you go on with life,” Andrea said. “There’s so much bad news, our moods can go down. We need something to pick us up and let us carry on with our lives.
“There’s little things. Looking at the sky, taking a walk, and pizza! Simple pleasures in life can help you reset.”
The Mingianos said they believe getting a pizza to-go from Saturday market is a great foundation for a meal shared with loved ones.
“I think the Sequim Farmers & Artisans Market is at the center of what makes it possible to be a business sharing in community with others,” Andrea said. “It’s an achievement to be part of this family of vendors. After all, pizza is always better shared with family.”
Try Ulivo Pizza for yourself every Saturday at The Sequim Farmers & Artisans Market, running May through October.
SFAM is currently operating under highly-modified adjustments. The market will operate from 9 a.m.- 1 p.m. and will be found at its usual location, Sequim City Hall Plaza on West Cedar Street.
Emma Jane Garcia is Marketing Manager for the Sequim Farmers & Artisans Market.