Every year around July 1st, Wil Tyler, the son of Pie Lady & Son, begins The Peach Watch. The peach growers of Georgia send word that theirs are ready, but Wil stays put. In the next week or two, he’ll hear from South Carolina and Virginia, too, but he won’t act on it. He always waits for fresh, delicious peaches from the bordering state of New Jersey. Luckily for Greenpoint pie lovers, Pie Lady & Son is now baking with peaches from Sunny Slope Farm in Bridgeton, NJ. “Everyone likes peach pie, if they like pie at all,” says Wil with a laugh. Yet there are subtleties to people’s preferences, so Pie Lady & Son has three varieties of peach pie on their seasonal menu. (Wil’s personal favorite is their Classic Peach Pie, coupled with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.) They also offer Peach Pie with Walnut-Crumble Top and Peach Raspberry Pie. “We always like to serve a pie with contrasting flavors, such as sweet and tart, throughout the year,” he says.
Pie Lady & Son got started in the early 1990s, when Wil Tyler was just a boy, and his Mom, Deborah, started baking pies. She learned the art of baking while studying in England and working in the college kitchen. There she watched the lead baker, a woman who made huge batches of all-butter piecrust and who “didn’t even measure the water” in her recipes. “People have such trepidation about pie crusts, yet this lady was fearless. I didn’t come back with a recipe, but I came home inspired by her style — by her fearlessness,” Deborah explains.
Years later, when Deborah was a single mother with three kids all under age 10, this inspiration and her need for income led her to bake pies from home. She advertised them with a sign on the road and conducted her sales from the back porch. She also sold at a farmers market in Nyack and got a big break when a customer who was a food writer for The New York Times, celebrated her pies in print. She called her business “The Nyack Pie Kitchen,” but her customers nicknamed her, “The Pie Lady.”