Purpose of this blog

This blog will really be a true web log. I will post here about different wood-fired ovens as I find them.

If you know of any wood-fired ovens I should know about, you can send an e-mail to me. (If you build wood-fired ovens, I would like to hear from you too.)

There will lots of posts and lots of labels, since I plan to create one post for every appropriate web site that I find, and however many labels it takes to describe each one (usually at least the type of page and the location of the oven).

The accumulated information will still be found at the real Quest for Ovens web site links pages, but that is not updated as frequently as this blog will be.

If you are from outside the US and Canada, let me know what you find interesting about it. I see that I get visitors from India and Iran, and other faraway places. I'd like to know what draws you to this blog.

I received e-mail from the organizers of the BBC Two television show asking if the Saint Paul Bread Club could post a notice about their show Great British Bake-Off for amateur bakers. The information they gave me is now accessible through a link. (The organizers don't have a web page for the show itself yet.)

Please share this with any amateur bakers in Great Britain you may know, or post the link where they might see it.


Friday, May 20, 2011

J. L. Hawkins Family Farm, near North Manchester, Indiana

Another chance find on my Google search for "wisconsin brick oven pizza farm" turned up an on-line review for pizza nights at the Hawkins Family Farm,  near North Manchester, Indiana.

The review says in part, "HOPE CSA, in conjunction with Hawkins Family Farm, is pleased to announce the return of Fridays on the Farm, the weekly dining event featuring artisan pizzas made with all-natural, locally sourced ingredients baked in an outdoor, wood-fired brick oven. Pizza will be served most Fridays during the summer from 5:00p.m. -8:00p.m, starting Friday, May 6."

McCaffrey's Dolce Vita Twin Springs Bakery, Decorah, Iowa

Doing a Google search for "wisconsin brick oven pizza farm" brought a surprise: The first wood-fired oven business that I have found in Iowa. (I'm not saying there aren't any, only that I am ignorant of them.)

A blog post by Jeremy Iggers at tc foodies mentions A to Z Produce and Bakery near Stockholm, Wisconsin, Vino in the Valley near Ellsworth, Wisconsin, and the Stone Barn, near Nelson, Wisconsin.

The real subject of the post is McCaffrey's Dolce Vita Twin Springs Bakery, Decorah, Iowa. The blog post says in part, "It's a little further afield - about two and a half hours from the Twin Cities, but the setting is charming - farm country in the rolling hills of northeast Iowa - and the thin-crust pizza is pretty good....You can watch the pies, which are big enough for two, being baked in the wood-burning brick oven in the dining room - it takes about 90 seconds."

This sounds like another interesting place to visit when I'm in the neighborhood.

AtoZ Produce and Bakery, Stockholm, Wisconsin

Apparently modern times have caught up to AtoZ (or A to Z) Produce and Bakery, Stockholm, Wisconsin. They now a real web site, and not just a Facebook page (which is run by a fan, not by A to Z themselves).

As far as I know, A to Z was the original "pizza farm." One of their slogans seems to be, "Made where it's grown."

There is a section of my oven businesses links just for A to Z (currently here, but you may need to search for "Stockholm, WI" if the headings change).

They were also the first location that was a destination for a field trip by the Saint Paul Bread Club, way back in 2004, not long after the club was formed.

I think this the place that got me interested in pizza baked in a wood-fired brick oven.

A to Z had been trying to keep a low profile; they have appeared in newspaper articles, but without mentioning their address or giving directions.

Since they have their own web site now, and provide their address and directions, I feel like I can lift the embargo about talking about them.

7/7/11: A to Z was mentioned in an article in the StarTribune about food destinations south and southeast
of the Twin Cities.

8/2/11: Was told that there was a blog post about them on the Pizza Quest blog.

8/24/11: I was there on 8/23, and by about 6:25 p.m., they were serving pizza #131. They had been making more than 1 pizza per minute for the first two hours of business. The rate was probably about ready to drop because fewer people were showing up in line for pizza.

Vino In the Valley, near Ellsworth, Wisconsin

Chance conversation about "pizza farms" brought mention of Vino In the Valley, near Ellsworth, Wisconsin.

Their menu mentions a Sunday buffet (not a Sunday morning buffet!).

Their times and days of operation are here. Not open on Fridays for some reason.

Oops. Missed their Facebook page in the first version of this page.

I have a field report from my visit to Vino in the Valley.

For similar places, click on the vineyard and farm labels on the right of the page. There is also a blog post about Wisconsin Pizza Farms.