Young Joni & Untiedt’s Vegetable Farm (2018 program, 2019 calendar), Minneapolis, Waverly

Not many things in life are better than really good pizza shared among family and friends. Ann Kim, James Beard Award winner and owner of Young Joni and Pizzeria Lola, knows this as truth and has built her award-winning restaurants on this truth. She says, “The very act of eating pizza is an act of community and sharing. It’s comfort food, and I feel like there’s no reason people should have to eat bad pizza.” For this reason Ann insists on the most flavorful ingredients she can get – not only to top her golden, wood-fired pizza crusts but also for her many seasonally-inspired starters and salads. “I depend on farmers so I can make beautiful creations people can enjoy together,” she adds.

Ann inherited her love of fresh ingredients and cooking from her mother and grandmother. She remembers gardening with them as a young child, nurturing plants from seeds her grandmother had snuck into her pocket on the journey from Korea to the United States: precious and familiar Korean chilis, onions, lettuces. Together they made enormous batches of kimchi in a kiddy pool on the floor of their laundry room. “Back then we didn’t have the resources or markets available to make Korean food that are available today. We ate what my mother and grandmother made from scratch,” she explains.

Ann first met the family behind Untiedt’s Vegetable Farm in Waverly at the Minneapolis Farmers Market. Not only did the consistency and flavor of their produce draw her attention, so too did its early availability. That’s because the Untiedts practice high tunnel production; plants are planted directly into the ground but protected under greenhouse canopies, which accelerate growth and extend the growing season. They frequently have produce available a month earlier and a month longer than other growers. Started by Minnesota Farmers Union members Jerry and Sue Untiedt, their enterprise is an impressive operation striving in its goal of family, employee, and agricultural harmony.