minnesota

Rochester Raves | Pizza Farms

pizza farm1_Sahl and White

“Check out a Pizza Farm” was on our summer to do list last year for three whole months before our schedules aligned long enough to check it off the list. We hit the open road one sunny, August afternoon and headed south to Wykoff to enjoy a Friday evening at Dreamacres for their wood-fired pizza and scenic property. The route wound us through the little towns of Southeast MN with Main streets and hilly, back country roads leaving gravel dust clouds in our path.

TIP: Bring with You – cash | picnic blanket and/or lawn chairs | plates, utensils, napkins | beverages | snacks | garbage bags for your trash | card games, frisbees (anything to keep you entertained while you wait).

We were welcomed with a hand painted sign attached to an old, rusty grain wagon parked at the end of a driveway letting us know we were in the right spot. We parked, got in line and watched pizzas being constructed and thrown into the wood-fired oven. An old chalkboard showcased the menu and specials, all which featured hand made ingredients grown in their large garden plots. That particular night, it was “Onion Fest” with all sorts of different varieties and flavor combos. The menu changes based on what’s in season, but does have a few main stays.

TIP: Arrive Early. Pizza is not always guaranteed + it will cut down your wait time.

After we ordered a “Layer your Own” with basil, sweet onion, and fresh tomato – side note they don’t have meat products, we threw down a blanket, broke out the drinks and snacks we had brought and surveyed our surroundings. The place is right out of an old storybook. I was right back at my Grandparent’s farm running between the hay loft and the apple orchard. Spread out across a large grassy field in between rolling hills and towering bluffs, it invites you to explore and choose your own adventure. People playing card games, throwing the Frisbee, and meandering the footpaths dotted the landscape. We first made our way to the “Inconvenience Store” which featured handmade craft items for sale and then down a winding path to the tree house which was situated right near a small stream and short hiking trails. A fence post with hand painted directional signs showed us other trails to go down and spaces to explore.

As the sun set lower behind the bluffs and the sky turned a darker shade of blue, we returned to our picnic set up and waited for our name to be called and pizza delivered. Tiki torches were lit and we were pleasantly surprised that dinner included a show as performers clad in marching band attire performed a few rounds of choreographed numbers straight out of a half-time football show. Brass, xylophones, drums, woodwinds, even cheerleaders with over exaggerated pom poms; they had it all. The talent was impressive and the unique pop up show made the wait time fly by.

TIP: You’re going to wait to get your pizza. And by wait, I mean upwards of an hour, possibly longer. Snacks are essential. 

At this point, the we had to remind ourselves that the pizza was what we came for. Our pizza arrived and while we did get the wrong one, we didn’t even care. It was hot and oozy with cheese and fresh veggies. We chowed down among the tiki torch light, fireflies, first stars of the evening, and then packed up our garbage to head back to Rochester in the moonlight. We’ll definitely be back!

TIP: Take with you what you brought. Many places don’t have trash capacities for the masses. Don’t be that guy; take your trash home and leave the space as you found it!

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It’s one of my new favorite ways to enjoy a summer evening in Minnesota. While I haven’t been to them all, here are some of the local fan favorites:

  1. Dreamacres Farm | Wykoff, MN | Friday | 5:00 – 8:00 p.m.
  2. Pleasant Grove Pizza Farm | Waseca, MN | Thursday 4:00 – 8:00 p.m. | Sunday 1:00 – 7:00 p.m.
  3. Berne Wood-Fired Pizza | Berne, MN | Wednesday | 5:00 – 8:00 p.m.
  4. Squash Blossom Farm | Oronoco, MN | Sunday | 4:00 – 6:00 p.m.
  5. Red Barn | Northfield, MN | Wednesday | May – August: 4:00 – 8:30 | September: 4:00 – 8:00 p.m. | October: 4:00 – 7:30 p.m.
  6. Two Pony Gardens | Long Lake, MN | Pizza events vary. Visit website for details.
  7. Suncrest Gardens | Cochrane, WI | May: Friday | June – August: Thursday and Friday | September: Friday | 4:30 – 8:30 p.m.
  8. A to Z Produce and Bakery | Stockholm, WI | Tuesday | 4:30 – 8:00 p.m.

Each pizza farm is a little different; they each have their pros and cons. Make sure to do a little research before you go!

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