I got my raspberries last weekend! One of my closest friends has access to her family's 21 acres of raspberries, and I get a couple of flats of raspberries from her every year. Most of the raspberries go to make jam, some get frozen for future use, but half a flat always has to be saved for pie. Some people associate pie with Thanksgiving or fall, but for me, summer is all about pie.
I grew up in Junction City, Oregon, and every year in August, the tiny town holds a festival celebrating it's Scandinavian heritage. This is the big fundraiser for every club, church, and organization in town. The Girl Scouts always serve ice cream, and krumkake. GoodWill, the thrift store, sells clothespin dolls. When I was there, our church had two booths- one selling roast beef sandwiches, and one selling pies. All of the members were called on to help out preparing the food- particularly the pies. Every year, my mother would sign up to make fifty pies for the booth!
We didn't have any refrigeration in the pie booth, so all the pies had to be fruit pies. This meant that the growing seasons were devoted to collecting enough fruit. We'd work picking fruit on farms, buying at the best prices we could find, and storing everything cut up in ziploc bags in the freezer- sometimes to be saved until the next summer. We'd save everything. We made apple, pear, apricot, blueberry, blackberry, marionberry, boysenberry, gooseberry, cherry, rhubarb, peach, raspberry, loganberry, and anything else we could think of that might be good in a pie.
When it was time to start making the pies, we had a pretty nice assembly line going. My mother would handle the pie crust, I would make up the filling, and my little sister would add the butter on top. We'd take turns cutting a design for the top crust, and crimping the edges to be as pretty as possible. We would freeze the pies, and pull them out to thaw the day we needed to bake them and run them out to the booth, so they were hot and fresh upon delivery.
I didn't just help make pies for my mother. The young women of the church would also sign up to make fifty pies! There would be a special activity on a Saturday where all of the girls and the youth leaders would get together to assemble them. That meant I was involved in making a hundred pies every summer!
I don't make a hundred pies anymore. As the summer starts winding to August, and the summer fruit starts showing up at the farmer's markets, however, I always get the urge to make pie. Now, I just make one, and it's my favorite of all of those many flavors- raspberry.
It's just not summer without it.