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WestSide Tilth Farm draws Buffalo with farm-to-table pizza

When WestSide Tilth Farm wanted to get the attention of their neighbors, they fashioned a particularly Buffalonian lure: pizza.

The West Side urban farm, at 246 Normal Ave., at Vermont Street, sells its produce to restaurants, through a 30-person community supported agriculture program, and at its retail farm stand.

The stand is open Tuesdays, so program members can choose their vegetables for the week, and others can buy whatever vegetables are in season. Now, Tuesday is pizza night, too. And the toppings couldn't be more fresh.

"We wanted to do it to bring people into the farm stand," said Carrie Nader, who runs the farm with Alex Wadsworth. "Buffalo really loves pizza, so we thought people would come in."

They buy flour and cheese, but "everything else is ours," Nader said. Oyster mushrooms, cherry tomatoes and herbs have only feet to travel before they're cooked and served. "This week we're making the tomato sauce from our tomatoes, and everything else is grown here."

The Neapolitan-style 11-to-12-inch pies are cooked in a propane-fired Roccbox oven. "We did 35 pizzas last week and we were completely maxed out," said Nader. This week a second oven arrived.

The $14 pies are vegetarian, and follow the seasons. On July 24, WestSide Tilth offered oyster mushroom and herb cream, cherry tomato, and eggplant caponata, "because our eggplants are finally ready," she said.

A pizza-and-salad special, which includes two pizzas, two salad kits and two balsamic dressings, runs for $42.

The Cherry Pie pizza ($14) from WestSide Tilth Farm. (Ben Tsujimoto/Buffalo News)

The farm, in its second year of harvesting, grows in soil trucked in from Clarence, to alleviate environmental concerns. It follows organic practices, not using herbicides or pesticides, Nader said, but is not certified organic because the paperwork involved wasn't worth it for the small operation.

The farm stand and pizza counter is open 3-7 p.m. Tuesdays. WestSide Tilth accepts WIC checks, farmers market nutrition program checks, food stamps and credit cards.

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