About Mom's Apple Pie
In 1979, Harry and Betty Carr purchased a small roadside fruit stand formerly known as “Hilltop” and converted it into a homestyle deli. Also located on the property were 8 acres of Gravenstein apples. The orchard was too small to compete with larger commercial farms, so instead of letting the apples go to waste, Harry decided to give apple pies a go. “Oh Betty, you make a great pie. Why don’t we sell it?”
The apple pie sales became so popular that it lead to Mom’s Apple Pie being officially founded in 1984. It wasn’t long before Betty became known to locals and tourists as simply “Mom”.
There was a "Mister Mom" Betty says when she thinks of her late husband Harry, who passed away in 1992. He was the driving force in starting this wonderful roadside shop where people can come to meet, share stories, and have some wonderful home made foods and of course Apple Pie. It was Harry who suggested to crimp the top crust “with perfect thumbprints” and watch the pie to ensure it bakes to perfection. Not all ovens bake the same,” Betty cautions. “You must baby-sit this pie.”
Originally from Japan, Betty immigrated to the United States in 1953. The daughter of prominent parents with Samurai roots, she came in her 20's and earned her second college degree in Home Economics. It was during this time that she learned and honed her pie making skills. She moved to Sonoma County with her late husband, Harry, who was a Virginia native and farmer.
In the early 60's, they purchased a 5-acre rural property in Sebastopol and operated a 400,000-chicken ranch and their own retail distribution store. With the county's once booming poultry business eventually giving way to vineyards, they sold the property and relocated up the road to the present day location of Mom's Apple Pie.
Betty is the proud mother of three boys that all attended and graduated from University of California Davis. One son is a local doctor and the other two have careers in law enforcement. From time to time, the boys still pitch in to help her with the business, including selling pies at the Harvest Festival, Apple Blossom Festival, Santa Rosa Wednesday Night Market and the local Sonoma County Fair.
Longtime customers Dawn Hyde, left, and Alan Joseph, who have been going to Mom's Apple Pie for 25 years, share some slices of Americana with "Mom" Betty Carr.
Although Betty insists there is no secret recipe, she does believe one of the ingredients in her success is using high-quality, locally-grown apples. “I think we are supporting ouselves that way - we are neighbors,” she says. Her baking apple of choice is the Gravenstein apple, a unique all-purpose apple with a sweet and tart flavor. When in season, she bakes her signature pie to cinnamon perfection using the rosy-skinned fruit grown in the restaurant’s backyard apple orchard.
About "Covered Fruit Pies"
A hundred years ago, fruit pies were eaten for breakfast as well as supper. During those times, American housewives often baked a dozen or more fruit pies every week. Hand made fruit pies are often less than picture perfect. They might bubble over during baking, brown unevenly, stick to the pan, or yield somewhat runny slices. No matter what you do you might also end up with a pie whose undercrust turns out slightly soft on the side facing the fruit. But don't be discouraged. These are normal occurrences in the baking of fruit pies, and certainly do not affect the unforgettable taste of an old-fashioned covered fruit pie.