It’s kind of like sampling wine at a vineyard: You know the product comes from quality ingredients because you’re looking right at them.
When you have pizza on a farm, whether they have waitstaff or you bring your own blanket to eat on, you know where that arugula came from because you’re sitting right next to the garden.
Whether it’s fresh ingredients you’re after or just a night soaking in the summer while we have her around, going out for wood-fired pizza on the farm (or on the church lawn or on the patio, as the case may be) is becoming a beautiful Minnesota summer tradition.
Many of these places are fully functioning farms seven days a week, then open up their grounds once a week for pizza pilgrimagers. But with the popularity of plein-air pizza growing, more organizations are offering their pies to a hungry public.
Here are a few spots within an hour or so drive from Rochester. (Know of any other spots nearby not on this list? Drop me a note, and I’ll update my list in a future column.)
Red Barn Farm in Northfield
This popular spot features handmade dough, and most of the ingredients are also grown right there on the farm, chemical-free. Of note: They feature a gluten-free crust option. Come and enjoy this adorable farm on Wednesdays, when they serve up pizza from their dedicated kitchen.
Try the “sour pig” pizza, featuring sausage, onions and sauerkraut made right there on the farm.
10063 110th St. E., Northfield. Wednesdays, 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. ordering window. $20 to $25 per pizza. Bring your own beverages and place settings, if desired.
Berne Wood-Fired Pizza near West Concord
One of the relative newcomers to the outdoor pizza scene, the good people of Zwingli United Church of Christ in Berne are hosting the Berne Wood-Fired Pizza night every Wednesday for the third summer this year. At their season opener last night, they showcased a new second outdoor oven, as well as yummy flavor combos such as the bacon bleu burger pizza with both bleu cheese and gorgonzola or the Greek pizza, which includes artichokes, Greek olives and feta cheese.
23148 County Road 24, West Concord. Wednesdays, 5 to 8 p.m. $16 to $20 per pizza. Pop, water and ice cream also served, but you may bring your own beverage of choice.
Dreamacres Farm in Wykoff
Located just 45 minutes from Rochester in Wykoff, Dreamacres Farm hosts pizza on the farm night every Friday from May through October. Pizzas are fired in their outdoor wood oven, but they’re first crafted from scratch out of fresh ingredients on the farm.
Dreamacres is a farm-of-all-trades, featuring a unique performance space, beautiful home garden and a farm with community-supported agriculture (CSA) shares. They also host a summer camp and retreats, organize workshops on timberframing, solar power, blacksmithing, bee-keeping, farming (naturally) and more. I kind of want to live there now.
17289 County Road 8, Wykoff. Fridays, 5 to 8 p.m. $15 to $20 per pizza. No beverages sold; bring your beverage of choice and place settings if desired.
A to Z Produce and Bakery in Stockholm, Wis.
This spot might be the best known and loved spot in the area. You’ll have to drive an hour and 15 minutes away to Stockholm, Wis., but then you get to eat at what’s known simply as “The Pizza Farm.” Last year, they learned that Wisconsin state law prohibits “carry-in” alcohol, so the farm now offers wine by the bottle and a selection of bottled beer for sale.
N2956 Anker Lane, Stockholm, Wis. Tuesdays 4:30 to 8 p.m. Bring your own beverage EXCEPT alcohol — purchase all alcohol on-site.