NORTHFIELD, Minn. (FOX 9) - A storm in September destroyed Patrick and Tammy Winter’s barn they had converted into a popular wedding venue.
The storm forced dozens of couples to find a last minute venue for their wedding. Less than a year later, the Red Barn Farm is opening a newly built venue as their wood fire pizza business continues to grow.
During the summer months, on Wednesday evenings the Winters open their farm to the community, inviting people to spread out a picnic blanket, bring a bottle of wine and enjoy a wood fire pizza that they make using local ingredients.
The Pizza night started nine years ago after the economy crashed, forcing the Winters, who were in real estate, to look for a new way to make a living.
“We had to do something so we built our first little brick oven over there and never looked back,” Patrick Winter said.
Since then, Wednesday night pizza has turned into a community staple where the Winters sell up to 250 pizzas a night.
“It’s kind of like a little mini-Woodstock. There’s usually some music playing and people are just hanging on the lawn eating pizza sipping some wine,” Patrick Winter said.
They started pizza night nine years ago. That’s what sparked the wedding venue business. A family friend and visitor to the farm asked if they could get married in the 150-year-old barn.
“It truly found us. Everyone says we were clever to do this but we stumbled. It was just basic survival, doing what we could to survive and we really got lucky,” Winter said.
In September, it looked like the Winter’s luck was running dry. After the storm hit their historic barn, they had to make a decision on what the future of the Red Barn Farm would be.
Winter said the foundation of the barn was too old to rebuild on so their family decided to start new, turning the space where their vegetable garden used to be into a new venue.
He credits the reason that the rebuilding project went so quickly was thanks to the community. He said local people with different trades stepped up to give him a hand and get the barn back up.
“Pizza night is a whole sense of community and building this barn is a whole sense of community. Look at my hair just stands up because it really is moving how many people stood up,” Winter said.
Last week the Winters hosted their first event in the new space. They say they have about 20 more weddings to host by the end of this year.