It’s been nearly four years since my first trip to Mission Pie, a wonderful oasis for homespun dessert and savoury pies located in the Mission District of San Francisco. I was new to the food community then, and eager to learn more about it. I wanted to learn more about the provenance of the wonderful ingredients being used in the meals that I was enjoying. My eyes were being opened to the wealth that is the abundance of the Bay Area’s local produce.
I’d started taking photos, too, with my new digital camera and many of those pictures were of my food. I began to post photos of memorable meals on Flickr and Yelp, together with reviews of my experiences both good and bad. I wanted to document my excitement for what I was discovering and for what I was learning, all at the same time. And, I wanted to connect with others who shared my passion. And my passion was fed.
It’s funny now to think that something as quintessentially homespun as a warm-from-the-oven pie could be a novel new player on the bakery scene but then, it was. At a time when bakeries were vying for the top cupcake, a bakery devoted to the humble pie seemed novel and maybe even bold. No one was doing pie then. I sought out Mission Pie soon after it opened and on that visit, after tasting that perfectly cooked crust and the luminous brightness of the fruit inside, even then remarked to my friend that pie ‘just might be’ the new cupcake. Was I right? Maybe not quite on the grander scale but for me, it sure is! And I wanted to learn more. . .
What I also learned on this first visit made me love this business even more. Mission Pie is the retail outlet for a bigger picture and a bigger story. All the ingredients which comprise every one of those gorgeous pies comes from a ranch, the Pie Ranch, located outside the city on the San Mateo Coast. Bees make the honey, fruit falls from the trees, wheat is milled to flour, and the spirit, hard work and love of farmers and volunteers all come together there so that you and I may enjoy the fruits of their labor here, and I was- and am- blown away and moved by that concept.
Founded in 2002, The Pie Ranch is a working farm, not only producing food but producing change. Their mission (Mission Pie) is to feed and nourish the body, the mind, the consciousness and the broader community by educating people as to where their food comes from and how it gets to one’s table. The Ranch welcomes students from inner city schools and introduces them to the country, all the while teaching farming and an appreciation for where food comes from. They mentor adults who want to learn to farm sustainably.
So they’re doing far more than growing food or even making pies…they’re making a difference. You can see this passion in the eyes of every single person in this video and I invite you to check it out:
via Teach Pie. on Vimeo.
The Pie Ranch apprenticeship program gives apprentices the skills needed to become the next generation of successful farmers.
Pie Ranch is an education farm whose mission it is to inspire and connect people to know the source of their food, and to work together to bring greater health to the food system from seed to table.
Thanks to Nancy, Jered, Amy and all the apprentices and interns!
2901 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94110