Gina Faber, owner of Gina’s Pies told us, “I’m a fool for pie. I remember first hearing ‘let them eat cake,’ and thinking yeah, do that; I’ll take the pie.” But, as much as she craves the treat in all its forms, Gina didn’t begin to master the craft of making pie crusts until her friend Nancy Reaves (mother of Market Salamander’s Pastry Chef Jason Reaves) revealed the secrets to her 10 years ago. “Even then,” she continued, “I ate a lot of my failures before my hands and a measure of whole wheat flour began a dance that resulted in the crust I long searched for.”
Then, everything changed. “I could no longer ignore the evidence,” she said, “that my body and wheat did not play well together.” Forced to begin a gluten-free diet, the tears streamed as Gina bid farewell to her precious pie. Those who know her, though, say she is not good at accepting “no.” “When I know what I want, my motivation is strong,” she said. She started to experiment with online recipes, did research into alternative flours, and spoke with others who are gluten-free. “It took me a year-and-a-half of experimenting,” she said, “while again consuming a good bit of my failures, before I arrived at a combination of gluten-free ingredients that satisfied me. I was thrilled! Life was good – I could eat pie!” She was so proud of her accomplishment, she shared her creations with her gluten-eating friends.
All the while, Gina was self-employed as an “edible gardener”, helping people to plant and maintain their own fruit and vegetable gardens and orchards. She shared her Master Gardener knowledge with clients. “Plus,”, she continued, “I passed along the results of my research into best practices for growing fruit and vegetables in Loudoun, with a minimum of chemicals. I’m proud to say, I was able to help many home orchard owners be successful and environmentally conscious!”
However, faced with overwhelming positive feedback about her gluten-free pies – especially the crusts – Gina could no longer ignore that she had a hit on her hands. She began to take the comments of “Gina, these pies are delicious, you should sell them,” seriously and started to sell a number to friends and, also to restaurants. It didn’t take long before Gina’s Pies proved so successful, she shuttered the gardening business to bake full-time.
Through Gina’s home orchard and farm contacts, she is now able to source practically all her pie fillings with local fruit: apples, peaches, pears, strawberries, blueberries, eggs, lard, and more. “I even use a locally-milled gluten-free flour mix,” she said, “from 7-4 Peace in Philomont!” With a desire to waste nothing and to help others, she donates apple peelings and egg shells from her business to local farmers and gardeners.
It seems, though, that she still has too much time on her hands, as in addition to pies and tarts, she created a line of healthy and delicious gluten-free breads: chocolate, apple spice, and banana walnut. “Being gluten-free is not the only quality that sets my breads apart,” she said. “When folks are at Market, I will be happy to tell them about some of the unusual ingredients I use in my breads! Actually, when folks come by, I will be happy to talk about most anything, from my pies to my breads to gardening tips for home orchards.” Gina said, “one of my favorite ways to sell Gina’s Pies is direct to the customer at the Leesburg Farmers Market.” And, speaking of that, many customers appreciate that they can pre-order pies through the https://www.ginaspies.com/ website and pick them up at the Market!
Witnessing the number of return customers who stop by Gina’s Pies at the Leesburg Market, it is easy to see that customers recognize and appreciate the quality and flavor that results from high-quality ingredients in the hands of a skilled pie-maker. Customers are even more pleased to know their purchase supports more than twenty farms from whom Gina sources her ingredients.
When Gina finishes baking her breads and her menu of year-round pie flavors, she looks forward each month to the fun she has crafting a “pie of the month” with in-season ingredients. Some of her amazing seasonal creations have been banana cream, coconut cream, cherry, pumpkin-pecan and cranberry-apple. Lately, she has been experimenting, concocting, measuring and mixing for a special February pie. Rest assured, no beakers are involved, but let’s just say CHOCOLATE is!!
Oh, not to forget, Gina’s year-round selection of pies include apple, blueberry, mixed berry, and bourbon maple pecan. In case you missed it, you can order now at https://www.ginaspies.com/
Editor’s Note: We’re still wondering why she didn’t name the business Let Them Eat Pie.