NOW CLOSED: Secret Pizza Party at Greene Farms
Update: Greene Farms is now closed, as of June 2017. Sorry, guys!
Imagine the best slice of pizza you've ever eaten. Creamy fresh mozzarella. Dollops of jammy tomato sauce. A light crust with just the right amount of char and chew.
Now imagine eating it at a picnic table beside a field of sunflowers, the fresh mountain breeze kissed by wood-smoke from the pizza oven. Imagine yourself behind a farm stand, located on a winding side road in a small Catskills town. If you've got small kids, imagine that each picnic table is equipped with Matchbox trucks and tractors. And a couple of tricycles have been left in the grass, as though the picturesque farmland had just been visited by fairy-grandparents.
This magical place is called Greene Farms, and it only opens on summertime weekends. You won't find any road signs pointing you toward it, nor will you find much about about the place online beyond their Facebook page and an article that ran on Forbes.com last September. Owners Bill and Suzy Vogler drew their devoted following through word-of-mouth and friendliness, greeting each customer by name. Even on our first visit, Farmer Bill called to our then-4-year-old son as he popped a pizza in the oven, "This one's for your, Archie! I hope it's good enough for the pizza expert who came all the way from Brooklyn!"
Later Archer would smile at him shyly and admit, "I really am a pizza expert, and your pizza is really the best."
Part of me feels like I should keep this place a secret, but I can't help piling on the praise. The pristine greens of my salad were topped with buttery avocados and peppery golden nasturtium blossoms. The cappuccino seemed too good to be true. When we asked what they do on rainy days, and they told us to check out the loft area in the barn. The airy, wood-paneled space with emerald accents had so much character and such a breathtaking view.
"Too bad we're already married," I told Pete, my husband of almost 10 years, "because now I really want to have our wedding here." I don't know if they've ever hosted a wedding, and the one-pie-at-a-time outdoor pizza kitchen probably isn't the best catering option, but Greene Farms is one of those magical places that makes you fall in love all over again.
I hastily photographed their menu last summer. Prices and items may change for Summer 2016, but here's a taste of what they've offered in the past: