Fire up the pizza and cool down with gourmet pops
WRITTEN BY GREGG L. PARKER
PHOTOGRAPHS BY JOSHUA BERRY
Tina Ford and Stan Stinson started small in the food industry, established a niche and now own Earth and Stone Wood Fired Pizza, along with Frios Gourmet Pops.
About five years ago, they started with a wood-fired oven on a trailer and vended at local farmer’s markets and breweries as they developed their business. They also owned Fire and Spice food truck, which developed quite a following at Blue Pants Brewery in Madison.
“We sold the truck to the young couple that was operating it for us when we opened our first pizza restaurant at Campus 805 in Huntsville inside Yellowhammer Brewery,” Tina said. Stan’s experience in managing Cracker Barrel restaurants 20-plus years ago helped their ventures.
In choosing a location for Earth and Stone, Tina and Stan had been searching sites for a couple of years for their locally-owned business. They narrowed the search to Madison for its vibrant, growing atmosphere.
“We opened Earth and Stone in late October 2017 in the shopping center just west of Target on U.S. Highway 72. We are in the same center as Taziki’s and Dunkin’ Donuts,” Stan said.
“Madison has welcomed us with open arms,” Stan added. “Earth and Stone continues to grow as more residents discover that we’re here and experience the quality of our food. Our new Frios Gourmet Pops store on County Line Road opened with a bang and continues to do very well.”
Earth and Stone’s most popular pizza is the Patriarch, named for Stan’s father. This pizza includes pepperoni, Italian sausage, bacon, red onions, red bell peppers and fresh mushrooms. “It’s a classic ‘supreme’ pizza that highlights the quality meats and freshest of vegetables,” Stan said.
The key advantages of cooking pizzas in a wood-fired oven versus an electric or gas oven, Stan said, are taste and speed. “We cook around 850-900 degrees. The high heat allows the pizza to cook in a little less than two minutes with a light, airy crust, highlighted by a little char for flavor.”
At Earth and Stone, guests can imbibe local craft beer on tap while enjoying a pizza. Options from Yellowhammer Brewing, Salty Nut Brewery and Blue Pants Brewery are available, along with a number of local canned beers.
Frios Gourmet Pops was Tina and Stan’s choice in franchises “because they make pops the way we make ice cream at Earth and Stone,” Tina said. “The quality of the ingredients and care to ensure each pop is absolutely delicious is what sets them apart from mass-produced popsicles found in supermarkets.”
Most of their fruit pops are organic and contain only natural sugars found in the fruits or juices that they use to make the frozen treats. Frios pops don’t contain an abundance of artificial flavors and syrups.
“We carry 37 flavors at present and have a large assortment of fresh, fruit-based pops, as well as ice cream-based pops with exciting flavors,” Tina said. “Two of our best sellers are Caramel Sea Salt and Blackberry Ginger Lemonade.”
Stan grew up in Zephyhilles, Florida, and graduated from Mercer University in Macon, Georgia. Tina’s hometown is Hokes Bluff.
Earth and Stone Wood Fired Pizza is located at 107 Brookridge Drive, Madison. For more information call 256-830-8358 or visit earthandstonepizza.com or Earth and Stone Wood Fired Pizza on Facebook.
Frios Gourmet Pops is located at 12181 County Line Road, Suite 200, Madison. For more information call 256-390-9212 or visit friospops.com/location/Madison.