Goat Mountain Pizza

Goat Mountain Pizza just might be the first living restaurant in Bellingham. To sustain local produce year-round, Goat Mountain has installed an aquaponics system. The in-house garden looks anything but traditional. With no dirt and no garden bed, you may not even notice the growth — unless you take a closer look.

Here’s how it works: Fish live in a large tank that sits beneath a bed of rocks with plants growing roots into the water below. As fish emit carbon dioxide, plants are fed and able to grow without any soil. Aquaponics uses 90 percent less water than traditional farming because the water and nutrients are recycled. According to employee Colin Long, this closed-loop system not only conserves water and other resources, but it grows great-tasting produce as well. “It’s the farming of the future,” Long said.

The system is currently growing arugula, parsley, strawberries, basil, thyme, and chives. As fresh produce becomes unavailable locally with the change in seasons, the restaurant is hoping their aquaponic system will have established itself. Rather than relying on produce shipped from afar, they’ll have a food source that couldn’t be much more farm-to-table.

The Spring Salad utilizes much of this in-house produce. According to employee Martin Ringman, staffers change ingredients based on what’s in season. “We’re going to be putting more and more aquaponics products in our pizzas and salads as they grow,” Ringman said.

The salad makes the absolute best of what’s available. Not only that, but you can see the source of the fresh, crisp veggies and savory seeds as you eat them. A thick herb vinaigrette finishes it off with a citrus-y salty balance.

The Carmelized Onion, Stilton and Arugula pizza also uses aquaponics. When arugula is growing, employees harvest the peppery plant and top each slice generously, finishing with a balsamic drizzle.

If the buzz is true, you’ll soon be seeing aquaponic systems in many restaurants. When the produce tastes this good and the carbon footprint is reduced this much, it’s safe to predict that Goat Mountain is just the first of many “living” restaurants in Bellingham.

211 W. Holly St. Bellingham
"With no dirt and no garden bed, you may not even notice the growth — unless you take a closer look."