Piemaking brings Vergennes bakers closer to the community
VERGENNES — “The first step was to figure out, do people want my pies?” said Chris Reck, Vergennes resident and founder of the three-month-old Route 7 Pie Company.
The answer was a firm and resounding “yes.”
In the past, Reck has made pies for family and holiday occasions, but when he saw a program on Vermont Public Television chronicling the stories of small pie vendors, he decided to try something more elaborate than home cooking.
A week later, he showed up at the Vergennes Farmers’ Market with his wife, Sandy, and about a dozen freshly made pies they had baked together. He’s been selling out consistently ever since.
“It was clear after the first and second week that people really wanted pies,” he said.
The pie-making endeavor is strictly a hobby for Reck, who is also the president of Direct Design, a marketing company in Burlington. Still, the 15 pies he makes every weekend suck up about 12 hours of his time.
Reck said he started the business for two reasons: He missed the hands-on process of creating something, and, working in Burlington, he wanted to become better acquainted with the Vergennes community.
“It was a home run on both ends because now I know just about everybody,” he said. “When you make pies, everybody likes you. They make you feel good.”
Loyal followers — of which Reck has accrued many — can keep up with the Route 7 Pie Co.’s most up-to-date vending locations on its Facebook page. Without a storefront, the business moves from the Vergennes Farmers’ Market, which takes place from 3 to 6:30 p.m. on Thursdays, to the Vergennes Driving Range, of which his mother-in-law is an owner. The range is in Ferrisburgh just north of the intersection of Routes 7 and 22A. Though Reck usually makes an appearance at one of the two each week, the schedule is not set in stone.
With five-star ratings on Facebook, the new bakers are receiving some loving attention.
“Grabbed an apple pie at the farmer’s market a few weeks ago and was very impressed,” one reviewer wrote. “I had to bring it to work the next day to share, because I feared I would devour the whole thing myself in less than 24 hours.”
“The crust was absolutely perfect, the peaches and blueberries were so fresh and tasty and the crumble on top tied everything together,” wrote another.
The baker keeps his process simple, following a time-honored recipe and sticking to what works.
“I’m purposefully doing nothing that’s super complicated,” Reck said.
Still, several key steps make for a particularly flaky crust and flavorful filling, enticing customers to keep coming back. For the crust, he uses a combination of shortening and butter, both of which are kept chilled in the freezer until they are used. The filling is made of entirely fresh, never-frozen ingredients, which Reck purchases locally whenever possible.
Favorite summer flavors included peach pie, berry pie, and several creative fusions of the two.
“I’m working on combinations that people really like and don’t think of themselves, such as one of my best-sellers — blueberry-peach,” he said. “They’re just combinations that would be difficult to pull off when you’re making one pie. It’s kind of like making Chinese food at home — it’s really hard because you need so many ingredients. When I make 15 I can afford to get large quantities of things and make interesting combinations.”
The Recks also sell turnovers and blueberry bread, and are planning a few more fall twists as the season progresses.
“One of the things that we’re developing right now is a maple cream pie, which, I think, is going to be fantastic,” he said. “You have to have that, right?”
For now, the team is comfortable settling into the weekly routine of creating their much sought-after pies and looking forward to the fall season.
“I have a lot of repeat customers,” he said, “and that’s been the biggest pleasure — people keep coming back.” VERGENNES RESIDENTS SANDY and Chris Reck started the Route 7 Pie Co. to use their hands in creating a produce and to get better acquainted with the Vergennes community.