TAKE A DAY TRIP TO A MINNESOTA PIZZA FARM
Farm-fresh ingredients loaded on top of a wood-fired pizza, surrounded by the Minnesota countryside—does it get any better than that?
By Claire Noack
The novelty of escaping the bustle of the city for an evening in the Minnesota countryside has become even more enticing. Not only does the air feel fresher and the grass look greater, but the pizza tastes better. For the past few years, Twin Citians and tourists alike have been taking evening trips to local farms for entertainment, livestock and farm-fresh pizzas.
You may not see the connection right away between farms and everyone's favorite Italian cuisine, but with fresh dough, sauce, handmade cheese and toppings grown right in the backyard, it all starts making sense. There's a palpable sense of community as neighbors and tourists from around the world come together to enjoy piping hot pies under the stars.
It's always a good idea to check individual farm websites for their current schedule as pizza nights tend to be limited to specific days of the week and to the summer months. Picnickers are also often told to BYO-everything besides the pizza, including seating, utensils, plates, beverages, side dishes and desserts, so be sure to keep up your end of the deal.
Here are a couple of our favorite pizza farms in Minnesota. While the drive may be on the longer side, knowing there's pizza awaiting you makes it all worth it.
Pizza service at DreamAcres Farm in Wykoff (about a two hour drive southeast from the Twin Cities) runs from June through September, 5 to 8 p.m., rain or shine. Made-from-scratch wood-fired pizzas from this off-the-grid farmhouse are ready to share with seasonal toppings that were grown on the farm. The working farm also features theatrical performances and retreats throughout the year. This year, DreamAcres will host Friday pizza nights on June 30, July 7, August 4, 11 and 25, and September 1, 8, 15 and 29.
Pleasant Grove Pizza Farm
Dreaming of bringing together the local farming community and inspiring agritourism, Pleasant Grove Pizza Farm in Waseca (under an hour and a half drive south of the Twin Cities) came to life. The 55-acre farm dishes up four delicious varieties of pizzas, not to mention pizza fries, with meats, fresh mozzarella, homemade red sauce and infused olive oil among other ingredients. The unique dining experience is complete with live music and walking trails to explore after the last slice of pizza is devoured. Visitors are invited to stop by the farm for pizza nights on Thursdays (4 to 8 p.m.) and Sundays (1 to 7 p.m.) from June through September and on Sundays in October.
Red Barn Farm
Visit the century-old barn in Northfield (about an hour south of the Twin Cities) for vegan-friendly pizzas with pesticide-free produce grown on site. The Winter family invites guests to the Red Barn Farm every Wednesday and the third Sunday of each month through October. Operating hours are 4 to 8:30 p.m. in June, July and August, 4 to 8 p.m. in September, 4 to 7:30 p.m. in October, and 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Sundays. Bring a blanket and listen to local musicians while chowing down. Don't forget to stop by the general store with canned and baked goods, fresh eggs, local jewelry, and clothing.
Squash Blossom Farm
Dig into delicious sourdough pizzas on Sundays from 4 to 6 p.m. at Squash Blossom Farm in Oronco (an hour and a half southeast of the Twin Cities). Sit back and relax to the soothing sounds of local bands while indulging in pizzas made with homemade sauce from garden tomatoes, herbs and vegetables grown on the farm. A limited amount of pizzas are available, so order ahead of time online and get a voucher for one pizza and two drinks. Pop into the Squash Blossom store to see the fruit of their labor, including vegetables and herbs, poultry and eggs, honey, artisan baked goods and sourdough breads. The family farm is also known for celebrating the arts with classes and workshops throughout the year, along with special dinners on the farm hosted by guest chefs.
Two Pony Gardens
The closest Pizza Farm to the Twin Cities, Two Pony Gardens in Long Lake (half an hour drive west from the Twin Cities) is indeed not a one trick pony. The garden offers more than 100 varieties of dahlias to plant and 50 types of heirloom tomatoes. Two Pony also practices and teaches sustainable gardening methods through youth programs, and it hosts pizza nights on select weekends through October. Pre-purchased tickets are required and sell out quickly. Visitors can expect to mingle with the chickens and ponies and enjoy live entertainment while munching on homegrown pizzas. Upcoming pizza nights include July 16, August 12 and 13, September 9 and 10, and October 21 and 22.