Loudoun Pie Maker Thrives on Business, Looks to Expand

For those looking for an organic and locally sourced pie, there are a few options in the area. For those looking for a pie that’s also baked in a completely gluten-free environment, there’s really only one option—Gina’s Pies.

For the past two years, Gina Faber, 52, has operated her pie business full time from her townhome kitchen in Round Hill. It has grown into a business that sells different flavors and types of pies and pastries to the gluten-free community seeking sweet treats made with local, organic ingredients. Faber said the idea for the business sprang up about a decade ago, when she realized that she could no longer avoid her gluten intolerance, but also couldn’t avoid the dessert.

“I was just not willing to give up pie,” she said. “I’m sticking with what I really like myself.”

Once her friend taught her how to bake a proper pie, Faber secluded herself in the kitchen for hours at a time trying to find the perfect recipe for a gluten-free crust. “It took me a good year-and-a-half of messing around in the kitchen, eating all of my mistakes,” she said.

It wasn’t difficult to know when she found the winning recipe, either. Six months after her friends suggested that she start a business, Faber did just that. In June 2016, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services certified her kitchen, which gave her the go ahead to bake her pies and head to the farmers’ markets to sell.

She sets up at the Leesburg Farmer’s Market, run by Loudoun Valley HomeGrown Markets Cooperative, every Saturday to sell her gluten-free pies, which include bourbon maple pecan, mixed-berry blue, blueberry, apple and blackberry and raspberry.

Faber also started this year baking and selling different types of gluten-free quiches for those who want to enjoy a pie without breaking their diets. “They are extremely popular,” Faber said.

Before the weekend comes around, of course, Faber is busy making multiple trips to area farms to pick up ingredients. She buys eggs, which come from free-range chickens that are fed non-GMO feed, from five local farms.

As for the fillings, Faber gets syrup for her bourbon maple pecan pies from Vale of the Blue Ridge Maple Farm in Purcellville, apples from Mackintosh Fruit Farm in Berryville and Crooked Run Orchard in Purcellville, blueberries from different farms in Lovettsville and peaches from vendors at the farmers’ market. “I’m really going for the local end,” she said.

Once she’s bought all the ingredients, Faber heads to her kitchen, which she plans to move to her new home in Lovettsville next month, to bake scones, sweet breads, crusts and three different sizes of pies, all of which are prepared in a completely gluten-free setting. “I make it safe for [gluten-free customers],” Faber said.

The finished product is something that Faber said tastes much better than an organic pie bought in a supermarket. “It tastes different when it’s local—it’s just so much better,” she said.

A six-pack of her muffin-sized tarts sell for $12, her 5-inch pies sell for $9 and her premium 9-inch deep-dish pies sell for $25.

In addition to selling her baked goods at the farmers’ market and online at ginaspies.com, Faber sells to wholesale customers, including two coffee shops and two restaurants. Her ready-to-bake frozen pies are available for purchase year round at the Spring House Farm Store in Hamilton.

With a business that sold $30,000 worth of pies in 2017 and one that’s consistently asked to supply different restaurants with pies, Faber is looking for a partner to help grow the business so that she can stay focused on baking.

“I really like being in the kitchen,” she said. “I know there’s an opportunity here.”

pszabo@loudounnow.com

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