The last time I wrote, I was busy recovering from my apartment farewell party. While doing dishes, scrubbing the grill pan, drying stemware, and generally putting my place back to its original position, I also had to drink the remaining Chardonnay and do something about all those leftover Banh Mi. I had so many of them! Over the past three years of cooking for big groups of people, I’ve learned that the hardest part isn’t cooking, cleaning, or hostessing. It’s knowing how much food to buy.
I bought 25 baguettes from Jasmine Deli. They were relatively short, so cut in half, I had 50 small sandwiches for 20 people. I thought that everyone would have two with a few people having a few more — but somehow this math didn’t work. Even after eating them myself all weekend, there were so many leftover I had to bring a bunch to work. Most people put bagels, donuts, and cookies in the spare cube. I put roasted beet and tomato salad, minted watermelon with pineapple, and lemongrass pork and tofu Banh Mi. I suppose every office has someone like me, right? (Don’t answer that.)
Thankfully, I had an opportunity the following week to share the leftover beer and baked chickpeas with my friends at the Pizza Farm in Stockholm, Wisconsin. Yes, it’s true. If you don’t know it already, there is a fantastic gem of a farm an hour and a half out of the Cities that serves hands-down the best pizza around.
The couple Ted Fisher and Robbi Bannen along with their kids open up their own farm to pizza lovers every Tuesday night throughout the year. They grow all the ingredients to put on the whole wheat crust, which is made from their own home-grown, hand-ground wheat. The crust is thin, the ingredients fresh, and the pizza kissed by the flames of their wood-burning oven.
There are no signs leading to the farm. In fact, there is only a series of dirt roads that make you wonder why you are driving a hour and a half to what feels like the middle of nowhere just to order a pizza.
Once you get there, it becomes exceedingly clear. The farm is beautiful and so are the people. Everyone brings what they need to create a night of fine-dining under the stars. It’s not uncommon to see a full setting with a tablecloth, chairs, wine, and a candleabra.
I had a bit of a geek out moment when I was standing in line to order. Brenda Langton, the chef behind Cafe Brenda and Spoonriver, walked by, which of course I had to declare to anyone within earshot of where I was standing. The girl taking our order said she heard the rumor earlier and asked me to point out Brenda. For better or worse, she disappeared into the crowd as Aaron and I made up things we could have said to start a conversation.
The chalkboard menu has quite a few pizzas and unique ingredients.
Orders are taken and you’re given a number. My car arrived at 5:30 and we had to wait an hour for our order. The last car in our party arrived around 6:30 or so and had to wait an hour and a half. You’re given a number as they are ticked off one by one.
In the meantime, you can drink wine and order a loaf of the farm’s own bread. You can wander around and pet the goats, cats, and cows, strum a guitar, lay around in the grass with someone you fancy, and catch up with your friends.
Angela and Courtney
Stefanie and Sarah’s daughter Elizabeth
Aaron and his paddle. If you bring your own pizza conveyance device, I think you save a buck. Aaron brings his paddle and asks people who are done eating if he can re-use their box.
I wonder how many pizzas can fit in the infero at a time.
When your number is up, the beautiful lady in the flowered apron cuts it up and takes your cash.
And you’re left to sit in the grass and enjoy the food.
I’d love to hear more people’s opinions about the Pizza Farm. If you haven’t gone, check out this article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for more details, or send me an email if you want tips on the best way to enjoy the farm.