I get in my car and leave Logan, traveling to these trade and arts and crafts shows to sell jewelry with Sabrina, thinking as I go that I hope we make money, move lots of inventory, booth next to someone who doesn’t make us crazy, have decent weather if it’s outside, have decent heating if it’s inside.
I pack my bag full of show clothes, my hair dryer, my makeup bag, my Zune loaded with not-so-cool to anyone else music. . .I have few expectations when I hit the road other than that I will get to spend time with one of my best girlfriends in the world, I’ll maybe find something worthwhile to buy from another vendor, and I’ll probably have a great meal or two. And if I’m lucky, I’ll meet someone new. Someone fun and engaging and interesting. I’m my daddy’s child – nothing I like better than striking up a conversation with a stranger who might be a potential new great pal.
That’s how it was when I went to the Zia Arts & Crafts Show last month. I hit pay dirt in the great conversation and potential new great pal department. Searching the aisles the first morning for a quick, hopefully nutritious and maybe tasty snack before the concessions opened, I found Black Bird Pies. And a table laden with freshly baked quiches. Green chile and cheese quiche. Spinach and cheese quiche. Little baby pies still warm from the oven. Sitting there with a couple of sweet potato pies, coconut custard pie, blackberry, tart cherry. I even heard a rumor that she makes turban squash pie with rosemary, but some lucky soul beat me to those. That’s where I found Raven Rutherford-West.
I love ice cream. I love brownies, and angel food cake, and fudge. But I really love pie. Lucky for me, Raven showed up all three days with fresh pies – and I felt compelled to buy several to take home, as well as a quiche each morning for Sabrina and I to share. This was some serious pie eating, and Raven just kept bringing them in. . .
She’s something, that Raven. She loaned me an article from Edible Santa Fe, for which the title is “Main Ingredient – Love. . The Story of Black Bird Pies.” In the article, it describes Raven’s life in South Central LA, where God told her to make pies. She was working three jobs, trying to be a mom, trying to find a way to make a life, when she heard God tell her to make pies. I can see her saying, “You sure, God?” knowing that there’d have to be lots of pies made before she could quit all those other jobs. But it being God giving the orders, she decided to listen.
That was more than a decade ago. Lucky New Mexico – we got Raven and her God-given and God-directed pie-making business here. She says she loves to make pies, and she’s great fun to visit with, so I’m guessing she loves to talk. If you’re so inclined, she even makes a line of gluten-free pies, and she uses organic or locally grown produce.
You can sometimes find Raven at the Albuquerque Grower’s Market. Or you can find her bakery at 2531 Jefferson #150 in Albuquerque. Or call 505-850-6725 to order a pie or two. If you don’t get Raven on the phone, you might get Dwayne, her adorable man who had the enviable job of carrying all those pies into the exhibit hall.
Tell them I sent you, and definitely order the sweet potato pie. It’s so good it’ll make you want to slap your grandma. . or something like that.