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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Hailstorm leads to Fruit Pie Business

Business is a family affair at Flippens Fruit Farm and Hillbilly Barn near Troy, Tennessee (population 1273). The company makes over a million fried fruit pies a year, over 3500 of them a day. Additionally, most of the fruit for the pies is produced on their 150 acre farm.

Their pie making business happened as a result of a natural disaster. In 1984, their three generation family farm was struck by a hailstorm and the ripe peaches fell to the ground. Because the peaches were bruised, grocery stores weren’t interested in purchasing them. Papa Jack Flippen thought the farm was going to go bankrupt. Then Mama Diane came up with an idea to use the peaches to make fruit pies. She cooked them up, and tested dozens of recipes to perfect and balance out the right mix of crust and fruit.

Initially the pies were just sold to friends and family. However, four years later, they set up a booth at a nearby arts and crafts festival and sold 150 pies. They were very excited about this and purchased a concession wagon to enable them to sell the pies throughout the country at community festivals.

Then Jack and Diane’s son Hayes began marketing the pies to convenience stores and small grocers in Arkansas and Tennessee. Word spread quickly and now people can buy the pies fresh on their farm or have them shipped overnight. And they are only $2.50 each to purchase. They also sell jams, jellies and cookies. Today Jack and Diane, as well as their three children and three grandchildren all work on the business together, along with 25 other employees.


ALF said...

My husband loves pie.

Mommy Meryl said...

I love the stuff in a pie, but I'm sadly not much of a pie crust gal. ..