Over 35,000 people attend Applefest each year. There are hundreds of craft and food vendors, live entertainment, a carnival and most importantly (at least for this blog!) an Apple Pie Baking Contest and an Apple Pie Baking Contest. The festival means a lot to me because it is where I got confirmation that people liked my Apple Pie! That was 11 years ago, before Noble Pies was even a glimmer in my eye.
We started Noble Pies in 2008 and one year later we decided to be a pie vendor at Applefest. Not having our own bakery made this a challenging endeavor! We hunted for a kitchen. We contacted restaurants, churches, temples and finally we found a PLAV (Polish Legion of American Veterans) that would rent out the kitchen to us. Baking the large amount of pies needed was a new experience for us. There was a lot of planning and prep work to do. Sugar mixtures were weighed out ahead of time to mix in with the apples. We cut up and weighed butter. We didn’t have a big dough mixer. Each pies dough was mixed by hand. We were making hundreds of pies. Not only did we have to bring everything to the PLAV we also had to get accustomed to a new kitchen layout and most importantly two ovens that we hadn’t used before. The ovens ended up being tricky to bake in. We checked the oven temperatures in various spots and one of the ovens did not cook evenly. This required us to carefully monitor and rotate the pies in order to insure that they were cooked properly. There were not any baking racks to cool the trays of pies on so we used counter tops and tops of ovens.
We baked for 48 hours. We boxed up all of the Apple Pies, packed up the truck and setup our booth. Within a few hours we had sold out. People even bought the apples we had on our table for display. We knew we were definitely on to something.
We continued to a vendor each year and then in 2013 we were asked to take over the Apple Pie Baking Contest. This wonderful event is all about entering the best Apple Pie you can make. We have an adult division and a junior division. We judge the pies by tasting each one. We award 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes. The remaining pie slices are then sold to the public and all money goes to the Warwick Ecumenical Food Pantry.
Three years ago we had an idea. Why not host a Pie Eating Contest at Applefest?! Our idea was accepted by the Applefest Committee and has become a very popular event. There is an adult and junior division. The adults have 10 minutes to eat a 2 lb apple pie with hands behind their backs. Our best time to date is 3 minutes and 40 seconds. That title is held by Eddie Jr. of Eddie’s Roadhouse Restaurant here in Warwick. It is something to see!
So each year Applefest is really busy for us. We make and sell hundreds of Apple Pies, taste pies and make pies and manage the Pie Eating Contest. It is a wonderful community event that draws people form all over the tri-state area to our beautiful town of Warwick. It is here that the delicious Warwick grown apples inspired that first Apple Pie that changed my life.