Villager and Global Sun Ovens
Marcy Heathens, head baker, said "We are so excited to be able to finally order our Villager Sun Oven. The price of electricity has gone through the roof! Without air conditioning, it's very uncomfortable to bake in our indoor ovens in the summer. Now we will be able to bake hundreds of loaves a day just using the energy from the sun. Even with the rolling blackouts we will be able to have bread for our customers."
The owner of Belle Isle bakery first spotted the Villager Sun Oven while visiting a friend in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Tom Funstler says, "I saw this giant silver contraption outside a Mexican restaurant where we were going to eat. I didn't know what it was at first - it looked like a huge satellite dish. The chef showed me how it worked. They were cooking huge batches of rice and beans in it. When they told me how much they saved on electricity, I was sold!"
Mr. Funstler ran into some problems when he applied for a permit to use the Villager Sun Oven at his Oklahoma City bakery. "We didn't know how to account for it," admitted Cramer Jones, the Department of Health head of restaurant inspections. "We weren't sure it was safe".
Mr. Funstler was able to show the DOH that the Villager Sun Oven had been in use across the world for many years, providing sun-cooked meals to orphanages, villages, and bakeries in hundreds of communities. "After that," reports Mr. Funstler, "they were a lot more helpful. Of course, the mayor's new 'Greening OKC' initiative didn't hurt. Anything solar became really in style."
The regular family-sized Global Sun Ovens, which can cook several meals a day, have been popping up across Oklahoma City since the first rolling blackouts began to take effect in late 2012. "We love ours," enthused local housewife Sarah Myers. "It keeps the house cool in summer and doesn't cost anything to run. If electricity prices continue to rise, I'm going to use it every day!"
To see a Sun Oven in action, you can visit the Penn Square Farmer's Market on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Local retailer John Fishing has a booth at the Farmer's Market with Global Sun Ovens, sun-cooked food, and more information about the Villager Sun Oven, which can cook up to several hundred meals per day. Mr. Fishing reports sales of the Global Sun Oven are increasing at a record pace, with a waiting list of up to two months. Now that the Health Department has approved the first permit, Mr. Fishing is taking orders for The Villager Sun Oven as well.