Make use of summer’s freshest produce by introducing a line of farmer’s market pizzas at your operation. Be sure to merchandise your operation properly to sell your farmer’s market pizzas by displaying crates of fresh tomatoes and peppers, boxes of mushrooms, braids of garlic and pots of fresh herbs, and by giving out samples of your creations for customers to try.
Here are eight yummy ideas that you can easily add to your pizza menu:
1. Take advantage of the fresh tomatoes
There is nothing better than a fresh tomato grown in the summertime. Feature colourful heritage or heirloom tomatoes sprinkled with sea salt and freshly ground pepper on your pizzas with a few basil leaves and some fresh mozzarella, and you have yourself a winning farmer’s market pizza.
2. Make homemade sauces
Try cooking chopped fresh tomatoes with onions, garlic and fresh herbs, blend it all together in a food processor and place in large sterile jars to use all season long. You can also create new sauces using roasted peppers, or make a pesto sauce with the abundance of fresh basil.
3. Use more fresh herbs
Fresh herbs like oregano, basil, parsley, arugula, dill, sorrel and rosemary are plentiful in the summer, and can easily be grown in your own yard or windowsill. Paired with garlic, they make a great addition to pizza. Since fresh herbs give off such an intense flavour, you can cut down on the amount of cheese used, making your pizzas much more cost-effective as well.
4. Feature a seasonal mushroom pizza
A wide variety of delicious mushrooms are sold at farmer’s markets, but many are still considered a delicacy. Create a gourmet mushroom pizza using varieties like matsutake, pine, chanterelles, morels and whatever else you see at the market. Roast the mushrooms and put them on top of a white pizza base with some fresh thyme, garlic, goat cheese and a drizzle of olive oil.
5. Create a farmer’s market pizza salad
Add a pizza salad to your menu. Use the pizza dough as a base, and dress the top of the pizza with a fresh spinach or arugula salad that complements the toppings on the pizza. For example, a pizza with a caramelized onion and apple base could be topped with an arugula salad with toasted walnuts and goat cheese, all drizzled with a light vinaigrette. There are several different fresh and delicious ideas that you can create to attract a crowd looking for something lighter and fresher to eat during the summertime.
6. Grill up the veggies and sausages
Set up a grill outside your pizza operation and grill corn, onions, zucchini, fennel, eggplant, peppers, sausages and other ideal pizza toppings. The smell of grilled food will attract customers to your operation and drive them to purchase a pizza piled with the freshly grilled ingredients.
7. Don’t forget about the fruit
Cheese and fruit have always paired well together, so consider adding fresh summer fruits as pizza toppings: including grilled peaches, apricots and pineapples, fresh figs, or lemon slices and zest. You can also sell a dessert pizza featuring fresh berries.
8. Sell your pizza at the farmer’s market
Promote your pizza operation by setting up a stand at your local farmer’s market. Even if you are unable to set up an oven, sell pre-made pizzas that customers can take home to heat up. Or sell jars of your fresh tomato sauce and bags of your pizza dough for customers to make their own pizzas with the fresh produce they have just bought. Hand out recipe cards for different combinations of pizza using different types of fresh produce. Make sure you include your brand, restaurant information, menu or even a coupon on your recipe card.
Diane Chiasson, FCSI, president of Chiasson Consultants Inc., has been helping restaurant, foodservice, hospitality and retail operators increase sales for over 25 years. Her company provides innovative and revenue-increasing foodservice and retail merchandising programs, interior design, branding, menu engineering, marketing and promotional campaigns, and much more. Contact her at 416-926-1338, toll-free at 1-888-926-6655 or
, or visit www.chiassonconsultants.com.
Making Dough with Diane: June 2013
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