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Thanksgiving...easy as pie

In the past, Holy Rosary's annual pie sale has proven to be a recipe for success, and this year is expected to be no different.

The 29th annual pie sale is set for Thursday, Nov. 17 through Saturday, Nov. 19 -- which means the order deadline is coming up Wednesday Nov. 16.

"We actually make the dough and assemble the pies on Thursday and Friday, so they're all fresh," said one of the five co-chairs of the event, Mary Ann Nelmark.

The process begins at Central Market with the homemade crusts.

"We utilize Central Market's bakery," said Nelmark, "We have about 35 to 38 five gallon buckets of fresh dough."

It then takes a village to assemble approximately 1,700 pumpkin and apple pies, as volunteers from the Parish, Holy Rosary School and community members all bring their talents to the table.

"We have an assembly line of people who are just rolling dough; people who are just crimping apple pies; people crimping pumpkin pies, and then about four or five tables of people just peeling apples," said Nelmark, "we have three or four apples peelers attached to each table, and they're all just peeling away."

The pumpkin pies are baked and set to cool, while the apple pies are assembled and immediately frozen.

"We advise that when people pick them up, they freeze them so that they can either take them out and bake them (for the apple) or for the pumpkin just take it out and let it thaw," said Nelmark, who says not only are the pies fresh, but so are the ingredients.

"We get the apples from Disse's Apple Farm right there on Highway 34, so we're using all local vendors."

The event has grown to become quite a community affair, too, as Nelmark says not only does it pull in the elderly parishioners who "really know what they're doing," but volunteers who don't even belong to Holy Rosary.

"It's a lot of fun," said Nelmark, "even if you don't bake, it's OK. You can still peel apples -- if my 14-year-old son can crimp, anybody can," she laughs.

And since students at Holy Rosary are the ones getting a slice of the pie (as in profits from the sale), they are also pitching in some labor.

The fourth-graders colored the posters that hang around town; the fifth-graders assemble the boxes; and sixth- through eighth-graders work the event, putting together pies and providing day care for volunteers who need it.

In fact, they even chip in for ingredients.

"We ask at the beginning of the year as part of the kids' school supply list that they each bring in a big tub of Crisco," said Nelmark.

Parish members volunteer to do a little cooking for the pie-making event in order to feed the volunteers who may be contemplating eating the profits.

"There are crock pots everywhere, and Papa Murphy's is really generous with providing some pizzas for the volunteers," said Nelmark, " so even though it's a ton of work, it's also a lot of fun."

But Nelmark warns that interested customers should call ahead to place their orders because once they're gone, they're gone.

"We have had to turn people away in the past, but we will have a waiting list come Thursday morning, and if we have extra, we'll call them and let them know that we can fill their order."

Pie pick up will be at Holy Rosary Thursday from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. (apple pie only), Friday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

"The pies speak for themselves because they're so delicious, and it takes one more thing out of your to-do list for the holidays," said Nelmark, "so don't worry about it; we got it covered."

The pies are $7 each, and can be ordered by calling 846-2566.