Pizza on the farm at Two Pony Gardens
Has there been any advancement in the last century that's half as important as pizza farms?
The way people flock to them, you might think not. But we admit to loving them, too, and thinking our northern farm culture cleaves so easily to the beauty of an afternoon spent among the green grasses of farm life that ends in a pizza feast. Anyway, didn't Klobuchar and Congress declare that pizza was a vegetable?
AtoZ Produce and Bakery
The farm that started it all, down in Stockholm, Wisconsin, actually doesn’t really want any more press. Its Tuesday pizza nights are busy enough with people trucking in from all over with chairs, plates, and blankets to create an outdoor night of dining that has redefined al fresco. It’s like a pizza commune down there. The ovens burn hot and jam out fresh big pies topped with produce and meat grown right on the farm. The wait can be up to two hours in August, but there is a farm to stroll around, and it now sells beer and wine (BYO glasses). Pro tip: Early October brings the best ingredients and a more chill pizza-farm night. N2956 Anker Ln., Stockholm, Wis., 715-448-4802, atozproduceandbakery.com
Two Pony Gardens
This stylish little tomato and dahlia farm catapulted to the forefront for pizza farmists last year, largely due to the fact that it’s within the metro and doesn’t require a gas tank refill. On pizza nights there’s a horse-drawn carriage ride around the farm, pretty flower gardens to tour, and, this year, kid-friendly puppet shows and live music. You reserve and pay for a ticket online, and when you arrive you check in and grab a slice buffet-style. The pizzas are humble and fresh, with creative seasonal touches like squash blossoms or late-season fruit. This year there are only three nights and spots are limited, so if you miss out, get on the mailing list and you might have a crack at next year. 1700 Deer Hill Rd., Long Lake, 763-473-0783, twoponygardens.com
Oasis Eatery at Nesbitt’s Nursery & Orchard
This one isn’t so much a farm as an orchard . . . and all the craziness that implies. Just over the border and a few minutes down the Great River Road from Prescott sits the Nesbitt Nursery & Orchard with its Oasis Eatery. Not quite on the scale of Emma Krumbees, this little spot does have a play area for the kids, a spruce maze, hiking trails, outdoor seating and games, and a pie night on Wednesdays, when an old-timey bluegrass band plays and the kitchen cranks out fresh pizza pie (plus chicken pot pie, quiche pie, and dessert pie!). Bonus here: There’s a real kitchen, a gluten-free crust option, indoor seating, and bathrooms, plus a nice array of Wisconsin beers. N4380 State Rd. 35, Prescott, Wis., 715-792-2676, nesbittsnursery.com
Stone Barn in Nelson
Open on weekend nights, this barn out in the middle of a rolling valley is a hot spot for pizza farm fans who don’t want to pack it all in. The farm has changed hands only three times since the first barn was built in 1896, and the current owners have restored the largest barn to create a unique pizza eatery on the farm. There’s indoor/outdoor seating, plus an actual courtyard bar area to go with the wood-fired oven and a healthy roster of pizzas. They use locally raised pork and lamb, and the herbs are grown organically onsite. Don’t poo-poo the simplicity of the margherita; this one has smoked provolone mixed in with the mozzarella for a lovely twist. S685 Co. Rd. KK, Nelson, Wis., 715-673-4478, nelsonstonebarn.com