Two Pure Michigan Bakers Weigh in on Pie Day

According to our fans, Apple is the official flavor of a Pure Michigan pie! Between locally-grown apples, blueberries, cherries and many other delicious fruits, it’s no wonder why Michigan is a mecca for delectable pies, pastries and other mouth-watering delicacies. In advance of Pie Day (Jan. 23), two Pure Michigan pie experts weigh in on why Michigan is an ideal destination for owning a bakery and some other sweet bits of knowledge you might not know.

Photo Courtesy of Zack Achatz

Linda Hundt – Sweetie-Licious

Since I was a little girl, I’ve always been very proud to call Michigan my home state.  I love the way we as Michiganders get to experience the seasons, each one intensely vibrant, and defined by its color, temperature, activities and the food it brings to the table!

Whether you’re picking fruits or vegetables from a tree, bush or garden, Michigan’s seasonable bounty is plentiful, especially our delicious, juicy apples that sets autumn apart from all the other seasons.

Michigan apples taste as close you can get to a crisp and sunny fall day here in the Great Lake State, and also happens to be the perfect fruit to make pies with!  At Sweetie-licious, one of the cutest little pie shops in the whole world, we use only Michigan apples for our national award winning apple pies.  Folks wait all summer for them, as the sweet aroma of cinnamon apple pies soothes our souls and secures our memories like no other comfort food can.

For the trueness of comfort food is indeed indisputable.  And pies are the ultimate in comfort, for they have the ability to carry on traditions and homemade goodness that takes you home…to beloved Pure Michigan.

Photo Courtesy of Zack Achatz

Ariel Achatz – Achatz Handmade Pie Company

Did you know Michigan is the top cherry-producing state in the nation and the third largest for apple and blueberries? What better use for a bountiful harvest than to use it in pies!

At Achatz Handmade Pie Company, we use 98 percent local Michigan ingredients. It’s a no-brainer to buy Michigan produce as it’s some of the best in the country, works well in pies, and grows in our own backyard.

AHPC is best known for their Michigan 4-Berry pie which uses Michigan blueberries, blackberries, cherries, and raspberries and their Apple pie which uses thinly-sliced Northern Spy Apples! Buying Michigan products allows us to work directly with local farmers that we know personally, and also lets us guarantee we get the best and freshest fruit.

Whether it’s blueberry, apple, raspberry, or strawberry-rhubarb, utilizing Michigan fruit in your pie this year for National Pie Day, January 23, won’t disappoint!

Photo Courtesy of Zack Achatz

GTPC

 

Looking for your own slice to celebrate National Pie Day? On Jan. 23, Grand Traverse Pie Company  will celebrate the delicious comforts of PIE during National Pie Day  by serving up a FREE SLICE of Michigan fruit pie – Apple Crumb or Cherry Crumb with ANY purchase all day long. Yum!

 

ArielAchatz

Achatz Handmade Pie Company was established in 1993 by Dave and Wendy Achatz, who began selling pies out of their home and at local farmer’s markets. AHPC soon outgrew their small home kitchen and moved to a 10-acre apple orchard in Armada – where they still sell today. AHPC now has 7 retail locations through Michigan and has been featured on Good Morning America and The Today Show. Don’t forget to like on Facebook and follow on Twitter! Pictured: Guest blogger Ariel Achatz.

 

LindaH

Linda McComb Hundt grew up in Lansing with a huge sweet tooth, loving her Easybake Oven, and dreaming of owning her own pie shop someday. She married her high school sweetheart, John Hundt in 1985, graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in Education and worked as a substitute teacher until 1989.

Later, Linda quit her job to pursue her life-long dream of starting her own pie shop business. As a home-based business, she sold her fare at farm markets and high-end restaurants. In 2005, the business grew into a retail café bakery in DeWitt. The entire business is based on love and nostalgia through the business’ mission, comfort food, vintage ambiance, and merchandise. Visit the Sweetie-licious Bakery Cafe website, Facebook page and Twitter for more!

Sweet as Pie: Meet Linda Hundt of Downtown Market Grand Rapids’ Sweetie-Licious Bakery

Guest Blogger Molly Clauhs grew up in Pennsylvania, studied Hotel Administration at Cornell University in Upstate New York, and then moved to Michigan to plant some roots, open a food truck, and get involved in the burgeoning food movement. She currently coordinates the leasing process for the Downtown Market Grand Rapids, where she works with small food businesses affording her an inside look at the foodie Mecca, opening Fall 2013.

The Downtown Market will feature an outdoor farmers market, teaching kitchens, rooftop greenhouses, banquet and meeting space, full-service restaurants, office space, and a market hall featuring 24 permanent, year round food businesses to offer a “main street shopping experience.”  Here, Molly will introduce you to one of the unique businesses that will be making the Downtown Market home.

A Sweetie-Licious Bakery pie. Photo courtesy of David Tilley, Downtown Market GR.

I’m frequently asked, “Where’d you learn to cook?” I’m tempted to say I spent a year in a tiny Parisian kitchen working through a stack of French cookbooks or was the star student at a prestigious culinary school or that I toiled away in a restaurant kitchen getting barked at and chopping onions. Nope. I grew up with a mother who loved to cook and a grandmother who lived next door and was always in the kitchen, enjoying herself. The love of cooking and eating became part of me.

This warm spring weather, hatching into summer, sends my mind back to the farm where I spent my first eighteen years. Around this time of year, I started checking my grandmother’s cherry tree. The tree was conveniently located off a small staircase that led to their front door, so if I climbed up the side railings I could lean over and examine the flowers, buds, unripe fruit, and eventually, the bright red sour cherries.

As soon as they were ripe, we’d begin picking them by the basket full. I’d still be balanced precariously over the railing with one hand holding on and one hand picking cherries. My grandmother and I would run the cherries through an old-fashioned hand-cranked pitter in the sunroom. Now for the best part, we’d bake cherry pies, and of course freeze the extra fruit to use throughout the year.

Let me introduce you to Linda Hundt, proprietor of Sweetie-Licious Bakery, one of the Downtown Market’s newest tenants. She built a business on the foundation of stories like mine: memories that center on food, family, and love.

Linda Hundt, owner of Sweetie-Licious bakery, gathered up family recipes, nostalgia, and a talent for baking gained through coming of age in a family of home cooks preparing meals from scratch daily as an expression of love and art.

Linda Hundt at Sweetie-Licious Bakery. Photo courtesy of David Tilley, Downtown Market GR.

She took all that goodness and created a bakery that is so cute you want to pinch its cheeks, if only that was possible. The bakery is located in DeWitt, Michigan, about fifteen miles outside of Lansing. Good news, Grand Rapids: Linda and her team are opening their second location at the Downtown Market.

I’m temped to write on and on about Linda’s positive energy and sunny disposition, but you’ve seen her photo and hopefully it conveys her spirit. From my experience, Linda is usually wearing an adorable dress, carrying a pie, and smiling.

However, it wasn’t always that way. Linda graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in elementary education. She considered culinary school but as was the norm a few decades ago, her mother steered her towards a career that would be conducive to raising a family.

Several years later, her husband’s business went under, teaching jobs weren’t available, and Linda began a career in politics that she maintained for fifteen years. Linda was depressed and uninspired and felt she was not living a purposeful life. “It got to the point with my depression that I had to sink or swim and I wasn’t going to sink.”

In 2002 Linda began baking pies fulltime and soon thereafter opened her bakery that she always refers to as “the cutest little pie shop in the world.” She realized as a child that food and love are linked and she and her staff, clad in pink aprons and big smiles, “love everyone who walks through the door.”

Sweetie-Licious opening at the Downtown Market means we’ll finally have a destination for pie in Grand Rapids. I don’t still live next door to my grandmother and her cherry tree, but a good old fashioned slice of cherry pie will remind me of my roots in a form of edible nostalgia.

We’re lucky to have Sweetie-Licious opening in Grand Rapids, led by an entrepreneur seeking a purposeful life and to spread love “one pie at a time.”  In the meantime, while the cherries are ripening and we’re anticipating the Downtown Market opening later this summer, give Linda’s “Cherry Cherry Crisp” recipe a try.

Sweetie-Licious Cherry Cherry Crisp recipe. Click to enlarge.

Sweetie-Licious Cherry Cherry Crisp recipe. Click to enlarge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Guest Blogger Molly Clauhs coordinates the leasing process for the
Downtown Market Grand Rapids
, where she works with small food businesses affording her an inside look at the foodie Mecca, opening Fall 2013.

Celebrate National Pie Day with Pure Michigan (Plus a Giveaway!)

We’re celebrating the fruits of Michigan during National Pie Day, next Wednesday, January 23rd! Created by the American Pie Council, ‘Pie Day’ is dedicated to celebrating America’s love of pie. And in Pure Michigan, we know and love pie. In fact, Michigan produces:

  • More than 50 percent of the nation’s apple slices and is the largest supplier of apple slices used in commercially prepared apple pies.
  • Roughly 75 percent of the country’s tart cherry crop every year. Those are the ones that go into pies, juice and preserves.
  • 25 percent of the national highbush blueberry crop (110 – 180 million pounds)

While there are many flavors and variations of this classic American dessert, nothing makes for a better pie than using pure, fresh ingredients and fruits – Michigan’s surrounding Great Lakes and rolling hills create a perfect climate for fruit-growing and is a leading producer of many popular pie fruits that can be found in local bakeries as well as national store-bought brands. 

Among these establishments is Grand Traverse Pie Company, who makes more than 95 percent of its purchases locally – fruit, sugar and flour all come from growers and processors within the state. In honor of National Pie Day, each of their locations will be serving up a free slice of Michigan fruit pie with any purchase all day on the 23rd.

To get in on the ‘Pie Day’ fun, we’ve teamed up with Grand Traverse Pie Company to offer fans on Twitter the chance to win an entire pie every hour between 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. EST on the 23rd. To be eligible to win, fans can simply tweet their favorite type of pie to both @PureMichigan and @GTPie. Tweets must include the hashtag #puremichiganpie and entrants must follow both Pure Michigan and Grand Traverse Pie Company on Twitter.*

Pure Michigan will choose one winner at random each hour, contacting winners through Twitter with details for obtaining their prize.

Additionally, we encourage fans nationwide to post photos of pies to the Pure Michigan Facebook wall during the week of January 21st. One fan photo will then be featured at the end of the week. Bakers and fans alike can also add their favorite pie recipes to Pinterest, using the #puremichigan or #puremichiganpie hashtags.

Be sure to follow @PureMichigan and @GTPie for your chance to win a free pie on January 23rd!

*Disclaimer: Users can only enter the Twitter contest once and those who make multiple accounts in order to enter more than once will be ineligible to win. Those who post the same tweet repeatedly or violate any of the other Twitter Rules will also be ineligible.