For several years the Neosho Christian Women’s Fellowship had a fall bazaar to raise funds for national and state outreach projects. When flea markets and craft shows became so numerous, it seemed time to make other plans. A church in Springfield, Missouri, had a very successful apple pie program. It was decided to give it a try in Neosho.
The first year 78 pies were made. They sold well but rolling the crusts slowed production. A few years later a man in the church bought a used pizza roller. Production quickly increased. It became a total church project as the men came to help. Sixty bushels of apples were purchased from an orchard and the production goal grew to 1000 pies. They were sold “as made” or frozen.
Dough makers come on Monday and Wednesday afternoons. Ladies weigh dough for each crust. Others make it into 4 inch “biscuits”, ready for the pizza machine. While dough is being made, sugar and spices are mixed. On Tuesday and Thursday mornings, men come in at 6 am and start peeling apples. Women come in and cut them into slices. Two or three women take pie crusts from the roller and check them for proper size and shape. The kitchen crew weighs the apple slices, adds spices, and puts the apple mixture in the crust. Toppers add the upper crust. The pies are then bagged and taken to the freezers. Time is taken for coffee break and fellowship. Women other than church members have come to help, and some have started coming to church.
People buy from one to 10, 15 or more pies. They have their pies for the year. Sugar-free pies are made on order. Due to demand, cherry pies are made twice during the year. Top pie production has been 1108 apple pies and 400 cherry pies.
It is amazing how the pies sell, as well as how some of the pies are sold. One man, a non-member of the church, who mows lawns and does odd jobs for the elderly in town, has bought as many as 100 pies at a time and then delivered them to his customers. Some who have moved away, still come back to buy pies.
Proceeds from sales are used mainly for various outreach projects, such as, “Goats for Mozambique”, “Windmills and Wells”, and other mission activities. The first batch of pies was made in 1982, so this ministry will celebrate 33 years in 2015.
by Margaret Coulter, who has been part of this ministry since the beginning