Idaho's Food Scene
(page 7 of 12)
Kathryn and Connie Fawcett sell out fast at the Ketchum Farmers Market.
Photograph Dev Khalsa
THE PIE LADIES
The Brick Oven Bakery’s Connie and Kathryn Fawcett
Fifteen years ago, Connie Fawcett had a formula for farmers market success: a simple booth, a smiling woman on a summer’s day and . . . really delicious hot chocolate mix. That was the idea, at any rate. There was just one problem: No one buys hot chocolate mix in the summer.
Mark Cook, who was then in charge of the Hailey Farmers Market, suggested something different.
“Maybe he thought because I was a Mennonite I knew how to bake,” Fawcett recalled. “The truth is, I’d never really made pie in my life.”
Nonetheless, she and her family decided to experiment and rented a defunct pizza parlor in Buhl with an enormous brick oven. “That’s how
I fell in love with brick-oven baking,” she said. “It maintains the heat evenly and makes a nice brown crust.”
Today, Brick Oven Bakery’s pies are among the most sought-after goods at farmers markets in the Wood River Valley and Boise.
The crust was the easy part. Getting the right proportions of fruit, sugar and thickener took more trial and error. Finding high-quality fruits took longer still.
“Rhubarb comes from a friend’s garden, and everyone in Buhl knows that when it’s apricot season, we’ll come pick whatever they can spare from their trees,” Fawcett said. The rest—berries, cherries, peaches and apples—are flash-frozen to ensure a consistent, high-quality supply.
If it’s a Monday or Friday morning in high summer, Fawcett is joined in her bustling kitchen by her daughters and daughters-in-law, and the five women set to work in a well-choreographed routine. By mid-afternoon on pie-making day, 250 pies will have been stacked on racks, and baking will continue past midnight, with fourteen pies at a time vanishing into the brick oven’s sturdy maw.
On Tuesdays, Connie and her daughter Kathryn drive twenty-dozen pies to the Ketchum Farmers Market, where they are consistently rewarded with long lines. The Fawcetts know they have a success on their well-floured hands. They see it in the faces and smiles of customers who’ve become friends. “Pie makes people happy,” Connie Fawcett said simply. “And it’s fun to do something for someone
-Pamela Mason Davey