A Girl and Her Love of Pies, Pie Chicks – Martha’s Vineyard

by Guinevere Cramer on September 10, 2013

in Changes On The Vineyard, Dining & Food, Interesting Islanders, Made On The Vineyard

Martha's Vineyard Fresh Pies From Pie Chicks At Cronigs Market Vineyard HavenHow does a homemade blueberry, blackberry, or strawberry-raspberry pie sound?  Think of a delicate, flaky, buttery crust, the fruit rich and dark in color, bursting with flavor. Imagine cutting a slice perhaps while it’s still warm, maybe topped with a little whipped cream.

Can’t you just imagine how happy and satisfying it would be?  Well, that’s what Chrissy Kinsman of Pie Chicks wants to bring into people’s lives on Martha’s Vineyard everyday.

Chrissy opened Pie Chicks in April of 2013.  Before that, she was the business manager/development director of the Farm Institute.  With a job like that, why open a pie making business?

Well, Chrissy has always loved a challenge, and loves to bake, and pies can be tough to make — a really good pie that is.  Chrissy and her husband have lived on the Island for a number of years, and all the while, she was yet to find a pie with a really good crust.

What Makes a Good Pie?

Pie Chicks Pies Of Martha's VineyardYou see, for Chrissy, a pie’s most important part is the crust.  The crust is where the magic is. It needs to be buttery, flaky and delicious, which is not easy to accomplish.  There is a science behind it, an exactness, a challenge that many don’t conquer successfully.  It takes discipline to make a really good crust, and that’s what Chrissy does. Chrissy is passionate about making pies, and it comes through in the finished product.

Pies for Sale

She had decided last Winter that she wanted to open a pie making business on the Island. So, she spent her time trying out recipes, and pricing ingredients and such, to see how she could make it work.  She found a commercial kitchen she would be sharing with Bob Skydel, from Fiddlehead Farm.

She bought a bunch of equipment from Rickard’s Bakery, and she was ready. She would start really small, selling at Fiddlehead Farm initially, and seeing where it would go from there.

However, you know Martha’s Vineyard and fate.  Bob decided he no longer was going to use the kitchen, so it would be all for Chrissy.  Perhaps she could start out bigger, and boy, did she.

In one day, she got Cronigs to sell her pies and a space opened up at the West Tisbury Farmer’s Market.  Whoa Nelly, this was big.  Still, she figured she would bake about 40 pies a day and be fine.

Let’s double those projections.  By July 4th, Chrissy was baking a minimum of 80 pies a day and a maximum of 120 pies a day!  That’s more than 500 pies a week.  She hired a couple pie guys to help her bake and her Sister-In-Law Kristi helped out to a bit too.

How did Pie Chicks demand rise so quickly?  Well, it was “Pie to Mouth” so to say (like “Word of Mouth”). Dinner parties and potlucks are hugely popular on the Vineyard, and that means you have to bring something to share, and everyone loves pie.

People were buying one to three at a time.  Available at the Farmer’s Market, Cronig’s, Fiddlehead, Edgartown Meat and Fish and Black Sheep, the pies were literally flying off the shelves. And that doesn’t count the private orders she was fulfilling as well.

If you mentioned pie this summer, chances ares someone said Pie Chicks.  It’s a pie phenomenon, and one that took Chrissy a little by surprise.  For her, she is helping to save the world one pie at a time, and that is not a joke.  She believes that pies evoke joy and a sense of child like anticipation for dessert.

The oohs and aahs that happen at the sight of pie are unparalleled in the dessert world.  Pie is comforting, it’s filling, it’s a treat, it’s special.  It brings people together, and after baking for over 25 years, Chrissy has seen the effect her pies have on people.

The Name, Pie Chicks

One winter evening, Chrissy and her family were sitting, talking about potential names for the new pie company. Several were thrown out there, like Pie House, and pie this and that.  But, when Chrissy’s Sister-in-Law, Kristi said Pie Chick, it struck a cord.  It then moved into Pie Chicks, which is appropriate, since there are other “Chicks” helping out with the baking.  Chrissy bought the domain name immediately, and drew the logo, and Pie Chicks was born.

Let’s Talk Pies

Even after a wild summer, Chrissy still loves baking pies.  She can’t help but smile each morning as she turns on the oven and gets things going.  It is her daily joy, her love, her gift to the world.

Now a serious pie lover knows that there is some seasonality in the world of pie baking, if you want to use the freshest ingredients.  With that said, a number of summer pie flavors are retiring for the season, and that means that soon, it will be time for fall pies!  Pie Chicks will be debuting its fall flavors around or at the Living Local Festival so keep an eye out.

Think pumpkin pie (Chrissy’s personal favorite), pecan pie, apple cranberry, sweet potato pie (available in savory or sweet), and maybe even a lemon gingersnap – yummy!  There is no definitive list of flavors that will be available as of yet, since this is Pie Chicks’ first fall season in business.

Some of the flavors I mentioned, Chrissy has not even made yet, but she loves  a challenge and loves making pie, so I imagine there will be some tasty options.  I know I want to try a pumpkin pie with that buttery crust of hers.

Want to know why her crust is so good?  She was happy to share to secrets with me.  One, she uses the highest fat content butter available, a European brand.  It’s the fat that makes the magic.  Not just anything will make flour that damn good.  Also, don’t over work your crust.  People tend to get nervous because crust has a reputation for being tricky.  Sometimes less is more.

Speaking of challenges, Pie Chicks is working on creating a good gluten free crust this fall.  Chrissy wants everyone to have the right to enjoy the magic of pie.  She’s also thinking about making a chicken pot pie, maybe make savory pies, even though she loves to make fruit pies.  We’ll have to wait and see.

If you want to find out more about Pie Chicks, the best thing would be to buy a pie or two.  See what a difference the crust really makes.  Don’t forget that Pie Chicks does take orders.  The pies are even delivered to you because it’s a wholesale pie company.  Pies range from $22 – $25.

Now for a little pie humor.  Why did the pie go to the dentist?  It needed a filling. Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

Thanks for reading the On Point Blog. You can learn more about Pie Chicks on Facebook. Speaking of social media, don’t forget to “Like” us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter, LinkedinPinterest and YouTube.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Michelle Valair July 13, 2014 at 3:37 pm

Can’t wait for you to come up with great gluten free pies and cookies. Hope we can buy them soon. Would love to hear more about it because I have celiac disease. I am on the vineyard every weekend and would travel anywhere to get good gluten free products.
Keep the pies coming and thing gluten free!!!

Thanks, Michelle

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