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Springfield, MO

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A Conversation With … Eleanor Taylor

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Eleanor Taylor began her baking career in the Midwest in her grandmother’s kitchen. Since she was 16 years old, Taylor has created custom desserts for bakeries in Springfield and New York City.

What are the origins of Prairie Pie?
Prairie Pie began last November. I knew I wanted to open a bakery business for a while because I’d been working as a baker for going on eight years. I decided now is a good time because I had just moved back from New York City and was feeling really inspired by all the big bakeries out there. I’m young and ready and thirsty for being in the industry and creating my own things.

What does a typical day look like?
I go grocery shopping in the morning, then go to the kitchen and start my day with crust. I make fillings, then baking, then pie delivery. I eat sometime in there whenever I find two minutes, and then I go home and do my packaging while I watch “Game of Thrones.”

Who is your typical client?
I see a lot of restaurants. Pie-by-the-slice is sold at Cherry Picker Package x Fare, Druff’s and Vito’s Kitchen. Minipies are sold at Homegrown Food and Harrison House Market. Minipies take up the most ordering, because they are so popular. Personal clients who contact me, it’s mostly women getting some pies for events or gatherings.

How does the wedding industry come into play for your business?
I have three weddings booked for the fall already. Weddings can range in orders from 5 pies to 25 pies. A lot of people have a pie bar and only serve pies. Others have a mix.

When are you busiest?
Thanksgiving and right when strawberries and rhubarb come into season. I work seasonally. I will offer apple pie year-round, but berry and stone fruits, you can’t get those in the winter.

Where did you acquire the funds to kickstart Prairie Pie?
I basically used my own funds, but my overhead is so low that I don’t really need anything. I’m based out of the commercial kitchen at Vito’s Kitchen, so I didn’t have to purchase all the equipment.

With the rise of the online food industry, how do you integrate your business into this new market?
I’ll have online ordering available for Thanksgiving this year. I think having online ordering is important because it’s easy to use. I think it simplifies everything. I offer free delivery regularly, but won’t offer it the week of Thanksgiving.

What’s in the future for Prairie Pie?
Supplying to more restaurants and taking on more weddings and parties. I would love to get into my own kitchen, have my own space. Hopefully, down the line, I’m interested in opening a store-front that would offer pie-by-the-slice, breakfast bakery items, coffee, alcohol in the evenings and then baked savories and salads to pair with that. That’s maybe five years down the road, but that’s my wildest fantasies, and the thing is that, in a town like this, it’s so achievable.

Eleanor Taylor is the head chef and owner of Prairie Pie. She can be reached at eleanortaylor@prairiepie.com.

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