Meet the Chef: Chris Reck of Route 7 Pie Company

“The first step was to figure out, do people want my pies?” Chris Reck told the Independent in a 2016 interview.
The Vergennes resident and founder of the Route 7 Pie Company determined that the answer was a firm and resounding “yes.”
A year later, Route 7 Pies are more popular than ever.
Before embarking on his pie-selling venture, Reck made pies for family and holiday occasions. But then, he saw a program on Vermont Public Television chronicling the stories of small pie vendors, and he decided to try something more elaborate than home cooking.
Soon after, he showed up at the Vergennes Farmers Market with his wife, Sandy, and a dozen freshly made pies they had baked together. Since then, the pies have consistently been selling out.
“It was clear after the first and second week that people really wanted pies,” Chris Reck said.
Pie making 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.
And on top of that, the Recks took over management of the Vergennes Farmers Market last fall. The winter market, which they piloted with success last season, started this past Saturday, Nov. 18, at Kennedy Brothers on North Main Street (but will be closed for the Thanksgiving holiday, and will reopen Saturday, Dec. 2, 9 a.m.-noon, during the Vergennes Holiday Stroll). While they started their pie business to immerse themselves in the Vergennes community, the Farmers Market was an even bigger step toward that goal.
“Part of the Vergennes City Plan is to energize the North End of the city, and we wanted to be part of that,” Reck said. “It’s not just about selling things; it’s about making the city more livable.”
At this winter’s market, Route 7 Pies will be selling holiday flavors like maple pumpkin, apple and pecan. They’ll also bring back another favorite: “pop-tarts,” or hand pies. “Not only do we do sweet ones, which are really successful, but we also have savory ones, like ham and cheese,” Reck said.
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. 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.
“I’m working on combinations that people really like and don’t think of themselves,” 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.”
With five-star ratings on Facebook, these 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.
And around town, the Reck’s endeavor has earned him a new title. “I walk down the street, and people will say, ‘Hey, it’s the pie guy!’” he said. “Getting to know the community has been the biggest benefit that we’ve gotten out of it.
Though the operation doesn’t have a website for online ordering, loyal followers — of which Reck has accrued many — can order Route 7 Pies on its Facebook page. Pies can also be ordered by calling (802) 233-9180, or in person at the Vergennes Farmers Market. 

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