a trip to the pizza farm, stockholm, wisconsin

by Stacy

Last Tuesday at 3:00 in the afternoon, I was sitting on a bench in my in-laws front yard, reading a book, and sweating profusely in the 103 degree weather. A red Subaru pulled into the driveway. We loaded a cooler of ice and beer in the trunk, I hopped in, and we hit the road.

The 90 minute drive southeast took us out of the Twin Cities and across the mighty Mississippi River.

Our destination? The real name is A-to-Z Produce & Bakery, but most people call it the Pizza Farm.

pizza farm, a to z produce, stockholm, wisconsin

Stockholm, Wisconsin (population: 97) sits across Lake Pepin (the widest part of the Mississippi) from Lake City, Minnesota. The scenic drive along the river bluffs leads to the tiny town of Stockholm, where houses line up shoulder-to-shoulder to take advantage of the river view. Hang a left at the corner pie shop and venture into the countryside.

Ted Fisher and Robbi Bannen started serving pizza at their farm on Ted’s day off from his previous job as a cook at the Harbor View Cafe in Pepin. They still serve pizza just one day a week (still Tuesdays) from March until Thanksgiving which brings people to the farm from hours away.

welcome sign at the pizza farm

The name implies that they grow pizzas, and it’s almost true. The farm grows the wheat for the crust and leavens it with their own sourdough starter; they top the pizzas with their own produce, meat, and cheese. Instead of shipping the ingredients to restaurants, they bring diners to the ingredients.

As the first of two cars in our group our job was to claim a good picnic spot and to order the pizza in advance. They only serve a set number of pizzas each night, and during a rush, the wait can get long. The heat seemed to keep people at home (their loss, it was beautiful out), so that wasn’t an issue for us.

They also sell bread baked in the same brick oven, eggs from their chickens, and granola — and that’s it.

What comes with your pizza? A pastoral picnic spot and fresh air. It’s BYO-everything else. Plates, napkins, beverages, tables, blankets — and dessert.

stockholm pie shoppe

En route we accomplished our other task at the Stockholm Pie Company. The heat didn’t prevent our trip, but it was a deciding factor between the two whole pie options available: Triple Chocolate Pecan, or Double Lemon.

In my excitement over dessert, I neglected to take a photo of the pie being served. Trust me when I say the handmade crust cradling a smooth lemon chess pie topped with lemon curd tasted refreshing and delightful. See how excited Alyssa and Jeff are?

pizza farm, a to z produce, stockholm, wisconsin

This is where the magic happens. The bushes on the left are obscuring the pizza-making area. You’ll find the outhouse (“bran can”) through the building at the base of the windmill.

The main picnic area is to the left, a grassy patch surrounded by trees. To the right are the pastures with ample picnicking opportunities. We set up our blankets and coolers, shaded by pine trees and downwind of a fragrant lilac bush.

pizza farm, a to z produce, stockholm, wisconsin

This is the green of summer that I miss during the dry middle months in California.

This was later in the evening after the crowd had thinned.

There were some impressive setups of card- or picnic tables, camp chairs, real glass stemware, and hipster facial hair. Others, like us, just spread out blankets. Grandparents watched kids gambol on the grass next to women in summer frocks and strappy sandals who minced their way doubtfully toward the outhouse.

pizza menu at the farm

For our group of eight we ordered four pizzas and took home leftovers: Canadian bacon, sauteed kale, margherita, and green garlic pesto.

The kale pizza with roasted tomatoes, onions, garlic, Kalamata olives, and a knee-weakening Bulgarian feta cheese was the group favorite, even among the meat-eaters.

enjoying pizza at the farm

enjoying pizza at the farm

Feeling pleasantly full, our group walked around to take photos, visited the “bran can,” or just sprawled on the blanket soaking in the moment. The humid air was less like a sauna and more like warm bath.

Is it worth driving over an hour for pizza? Not regularly.

But pile some friends or family into a car and go for the experience. See where your food comes from, eat it where it’s grown, and appreciate the opportunity. Use words like “bucolic,” “idyllic,” and “rustic” without irony. And take your garbage with you, leaving only a matted patch of grass where your blankets had been.

When was the last time you ate outside?

A few more photos are posted on my Flickr stream.

{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

katiebug June 12, 2011 at 3:29 pm

These pictures are gorgeous! I can’t remember the last time that I had really good pizza. Pizza worth driving an hour for. (Probably when I was last in Italy.) Nor can I remember the last time I ate a really memorable meal outside. Hmmm, time to remedy that!
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Stacy June 12, 2011 at 7:43 pm

Thanks, lovely! I was working with good raw materials which always helps. =)

There’s just something magical about eating outside, whether it’s under the Eiffel Tower, at a sidewalk cafe, or on your own patio or lawn. You should remedy that!


sarah, simply cooked June 12, 2011 at 3:36 pm

Sometimes when I’m wandering around the city I perch on a wall to eat a bowl of salad or a drink or snack. But I don’t think I’ve had a picnic in years, so that would be worth driving an hour for, especially something ad memorable as your pizza farm. It sounds like a great night out.
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Stacy June 12, 2011 at 7:43 pm

A mini urban picnic sounds fun in its own way — if only for the change of scenery and the people-watching.


Jill June 12, 2011 at 3:39 pm

That looks really awesome! I live in Wisconsin, and I’ve never heard of Stockholm. Maybe someday, for some reason, I’ll be in that part of the state on a Tuesday night.
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Stacy June 12, 2011 at 7:46 pm

To be fair, I hadn’t heard of Stockholm before last week, either. You could stop by on your way to Minneapolis. =)


Stephanie, The Recipe Renovator June 12, 2011 at 5:37 pm

Love this post, mostly for the whole experience. Those folks have figured out how to do something completely memorable and worth driving for. Thanks for sharing!
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Stacy June 12, 2011 at 7:47 pm

Thanks, Stephanie! It was really a lovely trip.


Kris @Krazy_Kris June 13, 2011 at 6:11 am

Sooooo love original creative pizza’s – mmmmm! Thanks for sharing!
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Stacy June 17, 2011 at 6:16 pm

There were lots of tempting options! “Research.” =)


emily@http://scrambledpreservedfriedcured.wordpress.com/ June 13, 2011 at 7:34 am

This is amazing. Exactly the kind of place I love and I would so drive there…a bit far from Boston, though. I have a fantasy about going to State fairs out there so perhaps one day I will make it to both…
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Stacy June 17, 2011 at 6:24 pm

Worth the trip for both!


Alyssa June 13, 2011 at 9:03 am

An excellent documentation of our adventure to Stockholm! I’m looking forward to another such trip next time you’re in the Midwest!


Stacy June 17, 2011 at 6:23 pm

I promise to be less boring in the car so you can stay awake 😉


Bridget June 13, 2011 at 9:25 am

That is so cool! What a fun adventure. My husband and I ate breakfast outside yesterday, and then we had kale pizza for dinner. Our pizza was good, but I don’t know if it was as good as yours!
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Stacy June 17, 2011 at 6:25 pm

Other than the desert scenery, it’s almost exactly the same! 😀

Oh gosh, your pizzas look pretty good. It’s hard to compare.


birch June 13, 2011 at 6:59 pm

Thursday dinner at the strawberry farm, Friday lunch (department picnic), Friday dinner at the playground, and Sunday at a park on the river. (Boring comment that only answers the question. I know.)

Lake Pepin is where Town is in “Little House in the Big Woods”. I read that chapter to my girl for bedtime. She’ll get a kick knowing you were there-ish.


Stacy June 17, 2011 at 6:26 pm

You’re allowed to be boring, you’re the oldest and it’s your job. :-) And those are lots of not-boring adventures!


Kate HR June 14, 2011 at 11:13 am

I have been just once but it was a perfectly wonderful evening. My office is actually planning a visit later in July en masse! Yay!


Stacy June 17, 2011 at 6:26 pm

What a fun office trip!


Amanda June 16, 2011 at 7:00 am

That looks like so much fun! I’ll have to file the post away in my memory in case I ever find myself in the area!
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Stacy June 17, 2011 at 7:06 pm

There’s lots of good biking in the region, too. =)


sarah henry June 17, 2011 at 7:30 am

Love eating outside. The food just tastes better. And: I wanna go on a road trip with you.
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Stacy June 17, 2011 at 7:07 pm

Yes and yes!


Joe D. June 19, 2011 at 4:36 pm

Ted is a cousin of my life partner and we have wanted to get there for several years. He puts out an amazing product: home grown, cared for, and (family and friends) made. Oh, wait. that’s the way it ALL used to be done. Fishers Rock!


Stacy June 19, 2011 at 6:04 pm

I hope you find time to get up there!


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