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Family Farm Runs Pizza Nights for Extra Income

With inflated prices and production costs, family farms are taking the matter into their own hands by embracing the farm-to-table strategy throughout the Midwest. Stoney Acres in Athens, Wisconsin, has been transforming its quarters into a summer food destination for organic pizza since 2012.

Every Friday night from May to October, hundreds of people flock to Stoney Acres for a taste of its farm-to-table pizza, for which all the ingredients are straight from the farm (even the sausages and pepperonis come from the hogs raised on the premises)—with the exception of cheese. That is made at another nearby family farm. With two large wood-fired ovens in the outdoor communal kitchen, aligned with vintage picnic tables in the yard, the Stoney Acres pizza experience is every family's dream.

"I'd never experienced anything like it before," customer Sarah Lakewood told NPR. "It got to the point where we were coming every week and, then, when we were here that last night the first summer, I felt like we were going to lose some friends for six months."

In addition to serving up pizza, the owners of Stoney Acres Kat Becker and Tony Schultz sell their produce through a community-supported agriculture (CSA) program and to local schools, which made up 85 percent of their income. Now with their new pizza venture, their summer profits make up a whopping (yet seasonal) 50 percent of their income. On busy nights, they produce 230 to 240 pizzas.

"But this whole summer kind of every week has broken a record," Becker told NPR. "But, assuming that people are splitting a pizza three ways, which I think is reasonable, that would be between 700 and 800 people on a busy night."

Although the number of family farms have been dwindling in the last ten years, additional farm-to-table ventures like pizza nights are not only helping families to make ends meet. They also create a bridge between farm and local communities, and bringing them together.

Photo credit: John Ivanko/Courtesy of Stoney Acres Farm

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