Local Business -The Pie Plate

The following was from Susan Sampson of the Toronto Star Aug 12, 2009... Visit the Pie Plate, located in Virgil on Niagara Stone Rd across from GM Dealer Niagara Motors.


The pie plate bakery: From the tree to the crust

VIRGIL, Ont.-The peach and custard tart looks homemade - just the way Ruth Anne Schriefer believes it should. The topping of early peaches is simple and not too sweet, so the flavour can shine through. The peaches were picked the day before.

"It's just pure fruit," Schriefer says. "It's bringing it straight from the farmer's tree."

We are at The Pie Plate, her bakery and café, on Niagara Stone Rd., the main road leading to historic Niagara-on-the-Lake. Everything here is prepared from scratch, using %local, seasonal fruit.

"This is our town," she says. "I wanted it (the business) to be local."

Schriefer grew up in Virgil, on a fruit farm. When the kids were working hard in the orchard, she always volunteered to make dinner and "do the pie." It was one way to sneak home early. Many recipes were borrowed from her resourceful, Mennonite grandmother.

She opened The Pie Plate five years ago, in a house dating back to the early 1800s. It was once the home of the village's founder. You can sit on the porch lined with pots of heirloom tomatoes or inside at a hand-painted table, including one that's inscribed: "Apple pie without cheese is like a kiss without a squeeze." Schriefer's dad used to tell her that.

Ruth Anne Schriefer piles local blueberries into shells at her bakery.

Out back , in the detached garage, is the bakery kitchen.

Every morning, Schriefer heads out to buy ripe, ready fruit. that's ripe and ready. That's why she has no you won't find anyapple pie in the shop - at least, not yet.

It's a family business and it's hard work, she says.

"Our problem is that we care. You're always going to get everything fresh."

The hard work is rewarded. A steady stream of pie-crazy customers keeps the patio door swinging. An hour later, a display case has been stripped of pies. It's time to bake again.