- Megan Jones-Holt of Market Pizza has created a venison pizza for a popular fundraiser benefiting Hungers Helping the Hungry.
- Known affectionately as the “Pizza Witch,” Jones-Holt was a pizza novice before taking over a pizza stand in the Stockton Market in Stockton, New Jersey.
- While many pizza shops have cut back on costs during the pandemic, Jones-Holt has done the opposite, advertising more frequently and offering customers a much-needed chance to socialize.
There’s a witch running wild in Stockton, New Jersey, but don’t be afraid—Megan Jones-Holt is, like Samantha and Sabrina, one of the good witches. The owner of Market Pizza in the Stockton Market, Jones-Holt is affectionately known as the “Pizza Witch,” and she works her magic with wild-game toppings like venison, boar and even kangaroo meat.
Starting on January 6, Jones-Holt will bring back a “wildly” popular promotion benefiting Hunters Helping the Hungry (HHH), a New Jersey nonprofit that provides venison from local hunters to food pantries around New Jersey. All month long she’ll be making her signature pizza topped with venison sausage, jalapenos, red onion, garlic, mozzarella, smoked Parmesan, juniper berries, oregano and red chili flakes.
The venison pizzas, which sell for $25, will be available for dine-in, carryout and in vac-sealed par-baked form.
Proceeds from the limited-time specialty pizza go to help pay HHH’s expenses for meat processing through butchers approved by the New Jersey Health Department. The meat is then provided to pantries to help combat food insecurity in New Jersey.
“Food has always brought people together, whether it’s a family dining table or new friends at a pizza bar, so this fundraiser is a natural fit,” Jones-Holt told NJ.com. For those who can’t afford to eat out or even to put food on their own table, HHH offers protein-packed options that usually aren’t available through food pantries.
This marks the fifth year that Market Pizza has partnered with HHH. The promotion has raised funds for an estimated 15,000-pus meals.
Jones-Holt reportedly earned the “Pizza Witch” moniker after a customer took a bite of one of her pizzas and proclaimed the flavor combination “magical.” But Jones-Holt was a pizza novice when she and her husband, Matt Holt, took over the Market Pizza stand from a local restaurateur named Jamie Hollender. She learned the pizza ropes from Hollender before starting to experiment with her own style.
In addition to wild game meats, Jones-Holt focuses on locally grown ingredients for her pies. Popular farm-to-table specials include a pizza topped with Bosc pears, prosciutto, arugula, mozzarella, goat cheese and a cranberry drizzle, and another one featuring Brussel sprouts, applewood-smoked bacon, caramelized onions, goat cheese, mozz, red chili flakes, pistachio and a honey drizzle.
Jones-Holt’s local suppliers include Gold Manor Farm, Fulper Farm, Two Brothers Farm, Cervenka’s Farm and Manny’s Grass Fed Meats.
As an indoor grocery store and market, Stockton Market has been allowed to stay open during the coronavirus pandemic. The market even worked closely with Hunterdon County officials to develop rules for indoor market operations, according to NJ Monthly. That allowed Market Pizza to remain open for business as well (albeit with limited dine-in capacity), and Jones-Holt decided to take full advantage of the situation.
“The first thing everyone does when something like this happens is tighten up costs,” she told NJ Monthly. “I did the opposite—I started taking out ads. We’ve gotten a lot of new customers. A lot of new people have found us, which is great.”
Jones-Holt continues to offer her standard menu, including the weekly special, while providing her clientele with a chance to do a little socializing. “A lot of our customers who come from a distance say stuff like, ‘We just had to get out of the house!’ And they come and grab a pizza, but they’ll chat for a while and then they’ll go. Everybody comes in and wants to talk.”