Couple Starts the Ultimate Pizza Delivery Business: A Wood-Fired Pizza Oven on Wheels

Imagine fresh mozzarella, artisan sausage and carmalized onions melding on a thin, perfectly crispy crust inside the warm embrace of a wood-fired oven.

Or a the luscious combination of fresh cherries, chocolate chips and creamy Nutella atop a sugar-dusted crust so perfect only the food fairies could have sprinkled it there.

Thankfully, right here in Redding, husband-and-wife team Aaron and Cyndel Rushton make these food fantasies come true with their newest venture, Cinders Wood-Fired Pizza.

The Rushtons and their portable pizza oven will greet guests at the entrance to “A Havest Sampler, Locavore’s Delight” – a food and wine event on Oct. 7  in downtown Redding.  I talked to Cyndel about their culinary adventure and their commitment to the local food scene.

You seem to have your hands full – a move, a new baby and a new business.

Life has certainly been a wild ride lately! There isn’t much sleep to be had and the laundry and dishes doubled overnight but we are in a season of humble gratefulness.

We’ve been blessed with so many great friends and family who have offered so much to see us thrive at home and succeed with our business.

What attracted you to creating food as a business?

When we started dating we were long distance and after the long drive to see one another, we would spend time cooking and enjoying a late night meal together.

Cyndel and Aaron Ruston started their new business, Cinders Wood Fired Pizza the same year they moved to Redding and had a new baby. Photo courtesy of Cyndel Rushton.

We’ve always been food lovers but the ritual also created a love for the process. When we dreamed about starting a business together, we wanted to share that ritual and establish a sense of community through good, local, simple food.

Q: Why wood fired pizzas?

Wood fired pizza started as simple peasant food. They used what was inexpensive and readily available. We love the simplicity of pizza as a canvas. We enjoy creating new recipes and adding unique ingredients. There’s also something magic about the fire. When you’ve experienced a catering or event with a wood fired brick oven, it’s hard to resist!

We also love the challenge of a new art, from achieving a great dough and learning how to stretch and toss to balancing flavors, we’re constantly learning. And the oven is for more than just pizza, we enjoy making bread, cooking a variety of meat (we had some amazing half chickens the other night, they came out beautifully!), playing around with appetizers and more. Aaron’s latest project is wood-fired doughnuts!

Q: How often do you source fresh, local ingredients for your pizzas?

We source locally as often as we can, right down to the base! Our dough is made using flour, salt and yeast from Moore’s Flour Mill in downtown Redding.

Cinders Wood Fired Pizza dough is made from local ingredients. Photo courtesy of Cyndel Rushton.

We buy from local farms first and change our menu based on seasonal offerings. Some of our meats and cheeses are also sourced locally. One of our most creative and fun offerings; the peanut butter and jelly pizza features peach jam from the Farmer’s Market that can’t be beat.

Q: Tell me about the oven.

Our Italian-style brick oven comes from a Northern California company that specializes in home and commercial wood fired ovens.

Aaron Rushton removes a pizza from Cinders Wood Fired Pizza oven at the Farmers Market Saturday. Photo by Adam Mankoski

From there, it was placed onto a customized mobile trailer by a partnership of two companies in Colorado. It is entirely wood fired. We purchase oak wood from a local company that works to counsel and employ special needs men in the Redding area. The oven takes about an hour to heat up past 600 degrees and we keep it between there and 900 degrees for making pizza. It also retains heat overnight enabling us to roast meats and bake bread.

Q: What’s your favorite pizza on your menu?

Our sausage pie. Hand stretched dough topped with our own red sauce and slices of fresh mozzarella. It features two different kinds of sausage from local favorite Furnari Sausage Co.; a ground Italian sausage and linked Sicilian sausage. Finally, it’s topped with onions caramelized with Pyramid’s Apricot Ale. (a West Coast favorite)

Q: What will be on the menu for A Harvest Sampler on Oct. 7?

We plan on offering three varieties of pizza at the event: our sausage pizza, a fig and goat cheese pizza and we are undecided on the third at this time. We’ll be exploring what’s in season and experimenting with flavors for the next week.

We’d love suggestions for what readers would like to see offered.

Cinders is just one of the local food purveyors guests can sample when A News Cafe and Slow Food Shasta Cascade present “A Harvest Sampler, A Locavore’s Delight” – an evening of food, wine and beer in the Slow Foods tradition, Oct. 7 in downtown Redding. Click here for more information about this celebration of local cuisine

You can find Aaron and Cyndel in front of the oven every Saturday at the Redding Farmer’s Market at Redding City Hall. They plan to add the Tuesday Market in the Fall. They can also bring the oven to you.

Call 541-324-0677 or email thebigcheese@cinderspizza.com or visit them on Facebook for more information.

Adam Mankoski enjoys experiencing and writing about the people, places and things that embody the free spirit of the State of Jefferson. He lives in Redding.

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is a recent North State transplant who feels completely at home here. He enjoys experiencing and writing about the people, places and things that embody the free spirit of the State of Jefferson. He and his partner are the owners of HawkMan Studios and the creators of Redding’s 2nd Saturday Art Hop.
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14 Responses

  1. don williams don williams says:

    My mouth is watering and it's 6:00 AM. Can't wait to try one.

  2. Right, Don? Drooling….

  3. Avatar Steve Fischer says:

    Put me on the list for donuts! Do you need an unbiased semi-official taster?

  4. Avatar KarenC says:

    I saw you at the Farmer's Market last Saturday and was wonding why you were sort of hidden way in back….perhaps because of the oven? You need to put a big sign up front directing folks to your location, or put one up into the air for all to see. I will check you out on Saturday. Good luck with your new venture.

    • Well, you are right. You have to look for Cinders Wood Fired Pizza at Saturday's Redding Farmers Market at city hall … Once inside the market, just head north and then hang a left and follow your nose to the pizza oven. It's right next to a snow cone stand, which is the very last vendor. (Last week I bought the caramelized onion and Furnari sausage pizza (incredible) AND the cherry Nutella dessert pizza … just for research, of course. 🙂

      I loved seeing Aaron and Cyndel with adorable baby Max, and Cyndel's "little" brother Ben (size 15 shoe) and grandmother Cindy. This is one fine little hard-working family and they are doing their best to make a go of starting a new business. I love their we-can-do-it attitude and the fact they use local ingredients. Most of all, they are just really nice people.

      I'm delighted they'll be at A Harvest Sampler so you can meet them and watch their pizza-making magic.

  5. Pizza aside, I know I'm not the only one so happy to see the extremely busy Adam Mankoski's byline grace anewscafe.com again.

    So good to read you again, Adam. 🙂

  6. Avatar Doreen Olson says:

    A couple years ago I created a sandwich that I loved and I've never seen it offered at any deli. This is how I would tweak it for your third pizza flavor: on top of some ketchup or plain tomato sauce (thin layer), I would add some chopped onions & minced garlic (this is a part you'd need to play with as I don't use them in my sandwich), a thin carpet of arrugula (chopped if the leaves are large), with sliced tomatoes, some form of beef and mozzarella &/or feta on top. You would need to make sure the arrugula is covered properly by the meat, tomatoes, & cheese or it would burn and taste weird. As you can see, these could all be local ingredients. All I ask in return is feedback on how people like it! My mouth is watering and I've never even made it in the form of pizza!

  7. Avatar Canda says:

    How exciting! I can't wait to try this pizza at the Harvest Sampler. In fact, why wait? We'll see you Saturday at Farmer's Market. Yummy!

  8. Avatar pmarshall says:

    I hope they will have a permanent location so we can order. We love pizza. I always hope there will be a low fat pizza, but, then maybe that is a tough one. Thin crust is our favorite with mushrooms, spinach, and cheese, of course. Not many calories there? Ha.

    But, seriously, we'd love to try some soon.

  9. Avatar Larry says:

    have never tried hot pizza in the morning…always cold leftovers. But this Saturday I am going to take the plunge. After all, I learned about having tamales for breakfast via the Farmers Market.

  10. Avatar adrienne jacoby says:

    My very favoritist pizza of all time came from a "roach-coach" type pizza trailer in a little town just north of Napoli. It was the most sublime pizza margharita i've ever tasted. Maybe, just maybe there's hope I'll find it again.

  11. Avatar adrienne jacoby says:

    yes, and what a pleasant surpirse to see Adam on the pages again . . .

  12. I just ate dinner and now I want a slice of pizza.