Behind the Scenes of Pizza Night

On October 31, 2017

Gathering for Pizza

How often does your family have pizza at home? If you’re like the average American family, you probably have it a little more than once every two weeks — that’s 30 pizzas per family in a year. Maybe you’re even ABOVE average! You can trace many of pizza’s best ingredients right back to Kansas farms!

Classic Ingredients

To build a pizza, you need a delicious crust, zesty sauce, gooey cheese, and — of course — toppings.

Pizza just wouldn’t be pizza without the dough. And pizza dough is made from winter wheat. Which state produces the most winter wheat? You guessed it — Kansas! We produce 467.4 million bushels of wheat each year. That’s a lot of deep dish, right there.

And don’t forget the oil! Oil makes pizza dough easier to work with, plus adds a little crispness and flavor to the crust. If you use vegetable oil in your dough, you might be adding a touch of Kansas. Vegetable oil is made largely from soybeans. In 2016, Kansas grew 192.5 million bushels of soybeans, making us the 10th largest soybean producer in the United States. 

When it comes to sauce, we’re sorry to say that Kansas can’t take much credit. California is the largest producer of tomatoes in the United States. And herbs like basil and oregano are mostly imported from Mexico, or grown in California or Florida.  Oh, well, we can’t grow everything here! But we can take some credit for an absolute pizza “must”….

Let’s talk cheese! (And, we know you want to because Americans eat almost 12 pounds of mozzarella cheese alone every year!) Because dairy is used for more than just milk (think cheese and yogurt), farmers measure their production in pounds, not gallons. In 2016, Kansas had 142,000 dairy cows that produced 22,800 pounds of milk each — that’s 3.3 billion pounds of milk in Kansas alone


Depending on your flavor of choice, the topping might have come from Kansas, too.


Although we don’t grow pineapples in Kansas — that comes from Hawaii, hence the name of the pizza — “Canadian” bacon comes from pork. In 2016, hogs from Kansas farms produced more than 600 million pounds of ham, chops, sausage and more.


The green peppers, onions and olives that give this pizza its signature flavor likely came from California — the top-producing state for all three ingredients. But the sausage, pepperoni and beef? Those could very well be from Kansas — where cattle and hogs outnumber people almost three to one! There are about 8.3 million cattle and hogs to 2.9 million people.


If you go for a less traditional flavor like spinach, mushrooms and chicken, then Kansas has a less visible part in production. Again, California ranks among the top states for spinach and mushroom production, with Arizona in the mix for spinach and Pennsylvania as the number one state for mushrooms. The top states for chicken production are Georgia, North Carolina and Alabama.  But we’re feeding those chickens! Chicken feed comes from many Kansas staple crops like corn, grain sorghum and soybeans.

The next time you have a family pizza night — maybe within the next two weeks?! — think about the Kansas farmers and ranchers that just might be at the table with you.

If you’d like to meet a few of them, follow our Faces of Farming board on Pinterest!

And check out more behind-the-scenes looks at iconic American meals below!

More Iconic Meals