Very berry, Very Prairie, very good

July 1, 2011

By Rick Nelson, Star Tribune

When juicy, color-saturated raspberries and blueberries made their first appearances at the Mill City Farmers Market, they immediately inspired thoughts of pie.

Just one problem: Temperatures were soaring into the upper 90s, with similarly punishing humidity levels, which meant that turning on the oven was not an option. Besides, if there’s one sure way to trigger an anxiety attack, it’s the suggestion that I make a pie crust. And don’t get me started on the intricacies of a lattice top, which is my equivalent of creating a surface-to-air-missile program from scratch.

Thank goodness for Gary Robertson. Shoppers may not recognize him, as he’s the unseen half of Very Prairie, the stand that features his partner Susan Dietrich’s carefully crafted pantry items, including crackers, marshmallows, cheeses, crostinis and ketchups. But Robertson, who also bakes at the Wedge Co-op, turns out what are arguably the city’s most glorious pies.

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