Mary Hostetter had a difficult year in 1983. She needed to provide for her two young daughters after a sudden divorce. Mary hoped to work from home by baking cookies and pies.
Area craft shows would be the perfect venue to sell her plethora of baked goods including cookies, pies and pastries for future events and the holiday season.
“By the Christmas of 1984, I had orders for over 30,000 Christmas cookies that had to be made in my home,” said Mary.
After that busy Christmas, Mary found a location for the Blue Owl Restaurant and Bakery along the banks of the Mississippi River.
Her showcase of pies brought quite the crowd, but in the summer of 1993, rain started to fall and didn’t seem to stop, putting the Blue Owl in the path of a 500-year flood.
A levee was built to withstand a 50-foot crest, taking weeks to build. The water had risen 49.9 feet, sparing the town and the Blue Owl. To thank the volunteers who saved the town’s homes and businesses, Mary decided to put her gift of baking to use.
“We decided if we could build a pie that resembled the levee that saved the town of Kimmswick, maybe that would be something really positive for people to enjoy,” said Mary.
The Levee-High Apple Pie now stands out in the display case, but not without causing confusion. Customers thought the 8-inch tall pie was pumped full of air or whole apples, but it the pie is a marvel of dessert architecture.
“The apples for the big pie, 18 apples, were hand-peeled and sliced,” said Mary. “They were each hand-placed.”
The pie is so famous, people come from miles around to photograph it, eat it and study and try a multitude of other tasty choices.
Blue Owl Restaurant and Bakery ships those pies all over the United States.
Watch American Countryside on U.S. Farm Report above.