A delicious summer tradition in southern Minnesota
Visitors buy treats at Squash Blossom Farm
photo courtesy squash blossom farm
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 greener, but the pizza tastes better. For the past few years, locals and tourists alike have been taking evening trips to local farms for live entertainment and piping hot pies.
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.
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 instructed 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.
While the drive may be on the longer side to some pizza farms, the casual and fun atmosphere makes it easy to make an evening of it. The farm-fresh pizza waiting for you is worth the drive in itself but bringing lawn games or a deck of cards make for a night of good food and quality time.
Pizza service at DreamAcres Farm in Wykoff (two hours southeast from the Twin Cities) runs from June through September, rain or shine. Wood-fired pizzas are made from scratch at this off-the-grid farmhouse and are ready to share with seasonal toppings grown on the farm. The working farm also features theatrical performances and hosts retreats throughout the year.
Neapolitan pizza at Pleasant Grove Pizza Farm
photo by Makayla Rae Photography
Pleasant Grove Pizza Farm
Carried by the dream of uniting the local farming community and inspiring agricultural tourism, Pleasant Grove Pizza Farm came to life in Waseca (an hour and a half south of the Twin Cities). The 55-acre farm dishes up four delicious varieties of pizzas, not to mention pizza fries, topped with meat, 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.
Red Barn Farm
Visit the century-old barn in Northfield (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. Bring a blanket and listen to local musicians while chowing down. Before you leave, stop by the general store for canned and baked goods, fresh eggs, local jewelry, and clothing.
Squash Blossom Farm
Dig into delicious sourdough pizzas at Squash Blossom Farm in Oronoco (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 pizza is 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 other 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 west of the Twin Cities) lives up to its name and is definitely not a one trick pony. The farm grows more than 100 varieties of dahlias and 50 types of heirloom tomatoes and brings in the community by teaching its sustainable gardening methods through youth programs. As for the pizza nights, visitors can expect to mingle with the chickens and ponies and enjoy live entertainment on select weekends through October. Pre-purchased tickets are required and sell out quickly, so make sure to reserve your homegrown slice.