If you happen to be looking left before you approach the Aquinnah cliffs, you'll see the sign for Orange Peel Bakery—a fire-colored wooden disc with a long handle—and Juli Vanderhoop's domelike stone oven farther up her driveway. And if you happen to drive by on a Wednesday night, her driveway is overrun with cars, picnic benches, and long tables covered end-to-end with a random assortment of toppings: soppresata, arugula from nearby North Tabor Farm, broccoli, jars of pesto and Alfredo sauce, chicken sausage, and grape tomatoes.
It's pizza night at Orange Peel Bakery on Martha's Vineyard, and it's an organized free-for-all. The deal is that you stick ten bucks in a coffee can, bring a few cups of pizza toppings for sharing, and show up between 5 and 8 p.m. on Wednesdays. The huge wood-fired oven, which cooks the bakery's other famous wares like snails—croissant dough swirled with cream and studded with raisins—and baguettes, turns out as many as 300 pies per night, and you're welcome to make as many as you want until the dough runs out.
Walk up to the table and ask for a "blank slate"; moments later, you'll be handed a long-handled peel holding a round of dough dressed with sauce (a smooth classic tomato number) and shredded mozzarella. Dress it any way you like—with your toppings or someone else's—and hand it back to the bakers. Five or so minutes later, they'll bring you paper plates with blistered slices of your baked pizza that's crisp at the edge and a little floppy at the point—in a good way. Don't expect your whole pie to come back to you; they keep some up in the prep area to share with anyone else who might want to taste it.
Bring blankets to sit on. Bring a frisbee. If you like, bring drinks to share—you'll probably make new friends.
Orange Peel Bakery
About the author: Liz Bomze lives in Brookline, MA, and works as the Associate Features Editor for Cook's Illustrated Magazine. In her free time, she freelances regularly for the Boston Globe, Boston Magazine, the Improper Bostonian, and Martha's Vineyard Magazine; practices bread-baking and canning; takes photos; reads; and watches baseball. Top 5 foods: fresh noodles, gravlax, sour cherry pie, burrata, ma po tofu.