South Dakota State University's Student-Run Independent Newspaper Since 1885

The Collegian

South Dakota State University's Student-Run Independent Newspaper Since 1885

The Collegian

South Dakota State University's Student-Run Independent Newspaper Since 1885

The Collegian

Local farm hosts weekly Sunday pizza nights

Bill ross, owner of Good Roots Farm and Gardens bakes pizza for customers
Katrina Buntjer
Bill ross, owner of Good Roots Farm and Gardens bakes pizza for customers

Right under your nose, you’re going to find a wood-fired pizza farm wrapping up their 2023 season located on the edge of Brookings, SD. 

Good Roots Farm and Gardens is not only a 40-acre event venue for weddings and other gatherings, but it also hosts weekly Sunday night pizza. Bill and Julie Ross, the owners, started their version of the third-generation farm by growing vegetables, however, they had a surplus of veggies, and it was extremely labor intensive. 

While on vacation, they heard about “pizza farms” up and down the Mississippi River, which are exactly like they sound, just fresh wood-fired pizzas made on the farm.  They went to look at a few and saw that is exactly what people were doing with their excess veggies. According to Julie, “We needed to do something else, and since we had already done events out here, we figured it would be a good combination.” 

“We went and had training at a hippie farm in Wisconsin,” Julie said. “It was the best training we could’ve possibly had.” Once they thought, yeah, we could do this, Bill and Julie ordered the pizza oven kit and learned how to make it. Julie also said, “We also knew we needed animals to make this a real farm, so we got miniature goats, and now get a new set every two years.” 

“Our events start in May and go through mid-November; however, our Sunday pizza nights go from early June to mid-October. Our last pizza night for this year is going to be October 8th,” Julie explained. “We have only ever canceled a pizza night one or two times, so we are making pizzas rain or shine.” 

Pre-orders open on Tuesday afternoon for the following Sunday night, with a new menu introduced every two weeks. “Since it takes 3-4 minutes to make a pizza, wait times got to be up to an hour when we had just started, so we had to switch to pre-ordering online,” Julie said. “You choose your pick-up time; we start firing pizzas at 4:30 and go until 7:30.” 

Since the pizzas are served picnic style you bring your own utensils, chairs, or blankets, and even yard games, whatever you need for the perfect picnic on the farm. Beverages are available for purchase, including select beers, wines, and homemade lemonade.  

The homemade pizzas are priced at $20 each. They are made from scratch using almost all organic ingredients, they also offer thin crust and cauliflower crust as well. Bill also stated, “We can make anywhere from 60-80 pizzas, but our numbers have been right around that 70-75 mark.” 

“We have 40 acres of land, 4 of which are our Aronia berries, half-acre is the vegetable garden, and then we also have an apple orchard,” Bill said. “We have rented out some of the land as well.”  

Paxten White and Maddie Jongeling are just two of the 10 summer staff employees, and both girls are sophomores at Brookings High School.  

When asked what her favorite part of the job was, White said, “I love all the experiences I have had, and I also love experimenting with the leftover dough and ingredients. We came up with these really good pizza balls they may add to the menu next year.” According to Jongeling her favorite part is, “Meeting all the new people each week.” 

“This is a really good job to start out with,” White said. “Our hours are extremely flexible, and it is only on Sundays from 3:30 to 8:30 at the latest.” 

“Julie and Bill are great bosses to have for a first job, and it is honestly like we are one big family,” Jongeling said. “I have been trained in all steps of the process and can do whatever is needed each Sunday. Specifically, firing a pizza is a lot easier than I thought it would be, but it still takes a lot of practice.” 

The farm values of Good Roots Farm and Gardens are what Julie believes sets them apart. They care for the earth, care for each other, and continue to build Brookings. “Our farm values are what makes this place so different and what drives us,” Julie said. 

The last pizza night for the 2023 season is going to be Sunday, Oct. 8. A great deal of their advertising is by word of mouth; however, they are on Facebook and Instagram as well. Their Facebook page is where you will find the most current information. Let your nose lead you to the delicious smell of wood-fire pizza at Good Roots Farm and Garden. 

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