The tradition of Midwestern pizza farms is only a decade or so old, but it’s already a beloved weekend ritual in which the farm community and jet-setting urbanites rub elbows over boxes of brick-oven pizza. Local wine and beer flow, there is a stage for live music, and lawn games are available to help work up an appetite.
Like many pizza farms, Winghaven started as a second revenue stream for an established farm. Rob Grover, whose family has run the corn farm for years, decided to engage the community and raise money for the farm by raising pizza dough instead of only corn. No, pizza doesn’t grow on on fields in neat rows, but the ingredients all start on farms and ranches anyway.
Winghaven uses as many local ingredients as possible on its pies. This being Wisconsin, the pizzas are heaped with Dairy-State amounts of cheese. Not just mozzarella: it’s a blend of five local cheeses. The crust is cracker-thin but sturdy enough that it does not collapse under the weight of all that cheese. Sauce is there simply to protect the crust from being overwhelmed by cheese. The pizza is cooked in a stone oven that is housed in a trailer. It’s a tiny kitchen, ironically situated in on miles of open farm land.
For an appetizer, you can get a giant, stone oven-baked pretzel. It comes from a German pretzel factory in Milwaukee, but is given new life in the pizza oven after being topped with butter and Italian herbs, then served with a cup of — you guessed it — more melted cheese.
You could take your pizza to-go, but you’d be missing out on the fun of the pizza farm, which is at least half of the pleasure of coming. Talk to some locals, stretch your legs and inhale the country atmosphere.
Winghaven is open Friday through Sunday. most Midwestern pizza farms are only open a day or two per week.
There are now over a dozen pizza farms slinging pies around the Northern Mississippi. When you’re passing through Minnesota or Wisconsin, look up which farm is open the day you’re driving through.