West Ferris Legion meat pie tradition reaches baking milestone
Many hands make light work at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 599 West Ferris.
Volunteers and legion members are again making their mouth-watering meat pies to sell to the public.
This 32-year-old tradition saw a milestone in the fundraising campaign this year. The legion has now baked more than 100,000 pies since its inception.
“You start with a shell and you of course fill the shell and then you put the top on,” said volunteer Terry Teeple. “Next is the crimping and buttering and they’re into the oven.”
The meat pie baking tradition started in 1989 to send the legion’s colour party to its first convention. Now sales from the meat pies go toward helping keep the doors open and for building renovations.
“We have an outstanding loan with the provincial body of legions and we had a major air conditioning breakdown which was $40,000,” said Tod Russell, 2021 meat pie fundraiser coordinator.
The legion makes 5,000 pies each year. That’s around 250 each baking day. The process begins in the third week of September and wraps up in the first week of December.
But orders start coming in during the summer from Toronto, Ottawa and all over northern Ontario.
“This year we hit a major milestone. We’ve baked over 100,000 pies since 1989,” said Russell. “The pies are a mix of 50/50 pork and beef. We have a time-tested recipe.”
The branch has had its fair share of difficulties during the pandemic because the hall wasn’t able to be rented out for events. Russell said events are always a large revenue generator for the legion.
If sales go well, the team might put their aprons back on and bake a few hundred more pies in the New Year.
“We couldn’t do this without our volunteers,” said Russell.
To order a pie, call the legion. Orders can be placed Monday-Wednesday from 8 a.m. to noon or Monday-Saturday 1-8 p.m.