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The other pizza farm

August 29th, 2010

About a year ago, I visited a delightful farm in rural Wisconsin that pumped out amazing pizzas.  In the time since, a competitor has emerged.

Like A-Z Produce’s pizza farm, the Love Tree pizza farm (actually Love Tree Farmstead Cheese) is about a two-hour drive from the Twin Cities.  They are both in rural Wisconsin.  They both bake their pizza outside in wood-fired ovens.  Neither one of them supplies customers with anything other than pizzas in cardboard boxes.

The pizza area at Love Trees farm

The pizza area at Love Tree's farm

I arrived at the Love Tree farm around 7:00 with a group of friends.  We found goats, sheep, and fields.  Farm dogs lazed on the grass.  The air smelled of earth and wood smoke, the latter of which guided our way.

Down the hill from some nice-looking farm equipment and we found ourselves at the pizza oven.  The order for three pies was placed.

The pizza oven and pizza maker

The pizza oven and a pizza maker

We passed the time watching the sheep get milked — the farm makes aged goat and sheep milk cheese — and sampling said cheese (very nice).  We listened to the quiet rural summer sounds.  We relaxed on a hill next to a pond.

The mood was light, and although there were far fewer customers than at the other pizza farm, those present were no less prepared for the experience.  Many had wine, most had blankets or tables, and few hesitated to strike up conversations with the proprietors.

We waited.  And waited.  And waited.  The sun set, the dearth of artificial light (a lone lamp dimly lit the pizza area) revealed the night sky, and our stomachs growled.  The operation was in its fourth week, and the pizza-production-line inexperience was showing.

A pizza maker tastes her product as she stares into the oven

A pizza maker samples her product as she stares into the oven

Finally, about two and a half hours after we placed our order, our pizzas came out.

I wish I could tell you that they were amazing and that the wait had been worth it but… I can’t.  The pizzas weren’t all that great.  I won’t go so far as to say they were bad, but the crust was generally too thick and underdone, the top was burnt, there was waaaay too much of something that tasted lemon-y in the sauce, and there was too much sauce in general.  The cheese on the pizzas was excellent, however.  I’d comment on what the pizzas looked like, but by that time it was so dark that we could barely see the outlines.

Nighttime pizza consumption (4 sec. @ f/2.8, ISO12800)

Nighttime pizza consumption (4 sec. @ f/2.8, ISO12800)

A long drive, followed by a ridiculous wait, all for disappointing pizza.  But would I go back?  Absolutely — with a caveat.  I’d like to go there again in about a year.  Why?

What I haven’t mentioned is the passion the family displayed for their farm, their cheese, and their pizza.  They seemed to genuinely care about what they were doing, and they appeared to be enjoying the work.  Pizza production is difficult, especially when a wood-fired stone oven is involved.  They need to work out the kinks and keep on iterating, like any good startup should.  I’m confident that they’ll nail it eventually.  They already managed to figure out award-winning aged cheese, after all.

For the pizza farm experience now, try the A-Z farm.  For the pizza farm experience in the future, keep Love Tree in mind.

  1. September 1st, 2010 at 12:23 | #1

    I concur with you wholeheartedly – a somewhat disappointing dining experience this time around, but I fully intend on trying again next year after they work out some of their kinks. I have full faith that they will!

  2. Katie M- Minneapolis
    September 18th, 2010 at 10:54 | #2

    I have been there the last two weeks and I am happy to report that the pizzas have been delicious and the wait maybe 20 minutes. As someone who loves the A to Z pizza farm, I think the experience at Dave’s and Mary’s is different from A to Z but equally mouth-wateringly good.

  3. October 12th, 2010 at 15:11 | #3

    i’ve been to the Wisconsin one. Pizza was great, especially the one I chose with thick-cut bacon.

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