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Friday, September 16, 2005 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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"R" Pizza Farm offers a pie chart of fixings

The Associated Press

DOW, Ill. — Walt Gregory found a way to make dough harvesting pizza.

The retired insurance agent and his business partner have carved up quite a tourist draw near the Mississippi River town of Alton, educating people with a half-acre circular plot divided up like the slices of a huge pizza.

Each of the eight wedges on the "R" Pizza Farm represents something used on a pizza, including tomatoes, peppers and herbs such as fennel and rosemary. Three goats represent milk, and Cleo the cow is symbolic of beef. Seven penned-in pigs represent sausage.

"I enjoy it immensely, just to see the looks on people's faces and seeing some people make the connection," Gregory said. "A 62-year-old lady ... didn't know pepperoni came from pigs."

Gregory and business partner Lynne Weis expect their organic farm to draw up to 6,000 visitors this year. They have a similar venture near Quincy and plan a third near Peoria.

"Word's getting out," Gregory said as he walked through the wedges, plucking peppers and tomatoes along the way.

Gregory briefs guests about the ingredients, then walks them through each slice. He hopes to educate guests about organic growing. He makes no bones about his opposition to corporations behind agricultural biotechnology or farmers who use herbicide-resistant products he considers dangerous.

Copyright © 2005 The Seattle Times Company

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