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GooseFest pie factory has operated once a year for 23 years

Three boxes of Granny Smith apples turned into 65 pies in short order the morning of October 23rd when the GooseFest “Pie Ladies” gathered to bake their specialty for Wednesday night’s Pork Feed.

10/31/12 (Wed)

Pie production . . . Volunteers, from left, Cindy Nieland, Pam Smith,
Gloria Gustafson, Silvana Brewer, Inez Gravesen, Elaine Schock
and Barb Scherbenske work their stations during the annual
GooseFest apple pie baking event held October 23rd.  A total
of 65 pies were prepared by 25 women in less than an hour,
baked and served during the Pork Feed Wednesday night.


By Caroline Downs

Three boxes of Granny Smith apples turned into 65 pies in short order the morning of October 23rd when the GooseFest “Pie Ladies” gathered to bake their specialty for Wednesday night’s Pork Feed.

With seven tables set up in a spiral in Beer Bob’s meeting room, 25 volunteers made quick work of the apples, crust mix, butter and cinnamon as they filled the pie tins. The pies were hauled to Gartner’s Jack & Jill for baking less than an hour after the first apple was peeled, cored and sliced, and the ladies settled down for a chat over coffee.

“During the first few years, we sliced a couple of the pies and had that with our coffee,” said volunteer Inez Gravesen, “but now we have muffins.”

At age 80, Gravesen is the senior member of the group and absolutely dedicated to the pie-making endeavor. “I just volunteered the first year they did it, and I come back every year,” she said. “We look forward to it.”

In fact, this year GooseFest week coincided with the Gravesens’ schedule to depart for their winter home in Arizona, and Inez was concerned about their flight schedule. “I wouldn’t leave before Pie Day,” she said, laughing.

Fortunately, the couple’s tickets were dated October 25th, so Inez had time to make the pies and pack her suitcase.

She glanced at the pie assembly stations arranged around the room, saying she’d been assigned to the jobs of mixing dough, rolling out crusts and filling pies through the years. “Now, since I’m 80 years old, I sit and cut apples,” she said with another chuckle.

Madeline Broghammer of Anamosa, Iowa, was enjoying her first Pie Day in Kenmare. The nine-year-old skipped school last week to attend GooseFest and stay with her grandmother Margie Hansen. Madeline and her mother, Cheri Broghammer, volunteered in the pie assembly line, with Madeline moving pies from one station to another and working with the dough. “I liked rolling it out flat the best,” she said.

Organizer Donna Weaver noted the pies have been a tradition at GooseFest for the past 23 years.

“The first year, they didn’t do pie for the Wild Game Feed,” she said. “Then Clifford Kling, Eskil Swenson and Archie Kress figured we should have pie, and they went out and picked juneberries for pies. We’ve done pies ever since.”

The group baked juneberry pies for two years, then switched to the apple pie recipe under the direction of the late Marge Helmers.

“The original recipe is in Marge’s writing,” said Donna, then laughed as she made a confession. “Except now, we use the Krusteaz pie crust mix. We’ve done that the last three years.”

She said the group plans an hour and a half for the activity, including set-up and clean-up, before sitting down to the well-deserved cup of coffee. “It’s a fun, social, good time,” she said.

The pies must be good, too, with slices flying off the table before the Hall of Fame induction ceremony Wednesday night. The few leftover whole pies were sold that evening to help cover costs for the 25th annual GooseFest pie-baking day next October.

And Inez Gravesen is already planning to take her station in the assembly line.

Inez Gravesen, the senior pie volunteers at age 80,
refuses to miss the annual GooseFest Pie Day.