When food writer Adrienne Kane caught up with Cindy Trzeciak eight years ago to write “United States of Pie” Trzeciak had been in the business more than 30 years.
Trzeciak, 64, grew up in Naples, where wine and grape production long ago put her hometown on the map. Though her parents weren’t directly employed in the industry, they lived on Mount Pleasant Street above what was then Widmer Wine Cellars, and the sights and smells of wine and grapes marked her childhood. She recalls watching the horse-drawn wagons hauling grapes through the vineyards.
In the 1970s the local wine and grape industry floundered. “The price of grapes plummeted. That bothered me,” said Trzeciak, who marks her 40th year in the business of selling grape pies. What she started in 1978 to help what she feared was a dying business — and to make a little money at Christmas time by selling pies — didn’t last long as merely a temporary endeavor.
“I did grape pies and Aunt Eunie (her Aunt Eunice Stopka) did coffee cakes and cookies,” said Trzeciak of those early days. Before long, selling a few dozen pies grew to filling demand for a few hundred.
“As time went on, people wanted more,” she said.