On the farm pizza a Friday night treat
NEW HOLSTEIN – As a type of agricultural tourism, outings on Friday nights and other times during the summer in Wisconsin now include at least six on the farm pizzeria opportunities.
For the second consecutive year, one Friday night choice May through September is the Grassway Organics Farm in southern Calumet County – one of the six in the eastern half of the state. At N600 Plymouth Trail, the 4:30 to 8 p.m. offering of handmade pizzas baked in a brick hearth oven is being enhanced by live musical entertainment.
The Grassway Organics enterprise is operated by Chaz and Megan Self, who moved onto a farm and organic retail store business established by previous owners Wayne and Kay Craig and their son Rudy. The Craigs were widely known in Wisconsin as dairy herd graziers and promoters of on-farm raw milk sales.
During the transition in late 2015, the Selfs ran an online barn-raiser funding appeal which attracted 73 contributors and reached 138 percent of its goal, according to an online posting on the Grassway website. A mobile food truck is part of the equipment at the farm, which continues to operate the retail organic store.
On the evening of June 2, the locally popular Red Star Express band was playing on the upper floor of the farm barn.
The evening drew family groups, couples, and individuals for the pizza, a hand crafted beer from Rowland's brewery in Chilton, other beverages, and play things such as bean bags, string toss, a sandbox, and a variety of small toys that were enjoyed by the dozens of children in the crowd.
Seven pizza menu
Attendees have a choice of seven pizza types along with a gluten free option for an additional $3 (pizzas are $20).
With a number of them being sourced on the farm, the pizza ingredients include pork and chicken sausage, ham, bacon, garlic, onions, pepperoni, mushrooms, herbs, and mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Organic produce items are obtained from Park Ridge Organics near Fond du Lac.
Several attendees raved about the excellent quality of the pizzas.
With seating choices such as picnic tables, their own chairs, and the grass on the farmyard barn hill or the lawn near the house, the evening's crowd of about 150 came from local communities.
One night in 2016, the largest crowd was well over 300, due in large part to followers of the popular Oshkosh-based band “Dead Horses.”
Two women from Libertyville, Ill., one of whom is the fire chief at North Chicago, drove more than three hours to attend the June 2 pizza night at Grassway Organics. They described themselves as devotees and avid attendees of major festivals and special celebratory events in Wisconsin and elsewhere.
In their online research, the women found a Travel Wisconsin article, posted in late April, which listed five pizza on the farm sites in the state.
Ironically, Grassway Organics is not on that list. Other attendees learned about the pizza night here either online or from friends. A majority of them were there for the first time.
Through the last Friday of September, Grassway Organics has musical entertainment scheduled for all but seven of the weeks. Among them are Sheboygan County resident Pete Scheuerman on July 28 and the widely known singer Tom Pease, who caters to children, on Sept. 8.
For the Selfs, however, this will be the final year of pizza nights at Grassway Organics since the property is being sold.
The remaining on the farm pizza attractions on Friday nights in Wisconsin will be The Stone Barn at Nelson and Stoney Acres at Athens. The others are A to Z Produce and Bakery on Tuesdays at Stockholm, Suncrest Gardens at Cochrane (a combination of Fridays and Thursdays), and Love Tree Farmstead Cheese at Grantsburg on Sundays.