A word from the Pie Party co-founder

This year is the 11th Annual Pie Party, and for the first time the Food Conspiracy Co-op is organizing the event. Here’s what Pie Party co-founder Turtle Southern has to say about what she loves about the Pie Party, and why she asked the co-op to take the reigns.

In 2003, I was involved in dreaming up an event that would involve an endless sea of fantastic desserts and a steady stream of friends to share them with. The delicious assortment of pies was always equally as important as the friends and neighbors that came to our annual Eat More Pie Parties. It is hard for me to comprehend the scale to which this humble event has grown. Dozens of volunteers have served nearly 1,500 pies in the last decade, and, still, throughout our community people are hungry for more opportunities to sit down and share a slice of pie with one another.

What an honor it is to pass on the torch to the Food Conspiracy, as the Co-op carries on this tradition into a new era of pie. The Pie Party has grown out of its roots, when we first offered all-you-can-eat vegan pie for the masses. It evolved into a pie-baking contest, and most recently a pie potluck. The one constant is that the Pie Party comes alive for a few hours each year, full of special moments to feast on for pie novices and aficionados alike.

So much pie in one place always leaves me satiated and delirious. There’s great joy to be found in each slice of pie, especially unique flavors, and the stunning creativity instilled by the bakers. If I think back to all of the Pie Parties over the years, there are certain pies I will never forget – a gorgeous heirloom tomato creation, an award-winning artichoke pie, and this one particular strawberry pie many years ago that was more than I ever dreamed possible. Bites that were so heavenly, they brought tears to my eyes.

The contagious excitement that comes from baking hundreds of pies in a single marathon session and the treasured friendships forged in the warmth of the kitchen were highlights from the early years of the Pie Party. But what I remember most fondly, before the last pie is served, is assembling a plate with a medley of the tastiest slices. Sitting down with loved ones to savor each bite of this pie-pourri is the culmination of what the Pie Party represents to me, and why I personally keep coming back for more.

When was the last time you tasted a truly sensational piece of pie? Have you dusted off your rolling pin and baked a pie recently? Thanks to the Food Conspiracy, that could happen sooner than you think. The Co-op does so much to tie our community together, and I’m eager to see where this pie tradition travels. This year’s Pie Party is Saturday, May 10th, from 3:00 at 6:00 p.m. at Mercado San Agustin. Slices of pie are $3 each $5 for two slices and the proceeds will benefit local nonprofits. Pie eaters get to cast their vote on who receives the earnings, and I hope you’ll come participate in the tastiest, most memorable fundraiser Tucson’s ovens have to offer.

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