From Grapes to...Pie!

Three years ago we planted a tiny vineyard at the bottom of the garden where the raspberries used to be. Presently we have two rows of Reliance seedless grapes. We've all been waiting anxiously for the first fruits and earlier in the summer Srs. Joseph Maria and Lauren laid netting over the vines tying it down securely. Nary a crow or other bird has been in sight! Victory!

However, an "enemy" left evidence of coming to our little vineyard for its evening meal. The grapes were just about ready to be picked when whole clusters were found denuded of their grapes, the skins lying on the ground! The sisters even brown bagged the clusters but the critters ripped open the bags to eat our sweet, juicy grapes!

It seems that the chipmunks who are quite plentiful this year and well, they need to eat, too!

So, Saturday, Sr. Joseph Maria and Sr. Lauren asked Sr. Mary Catharine to show them how to make Grapeskin Pie! Yes, you read that correctly! Grapeskin Pie is DELICIOUS!

Sr. Mary Catharine and Sr. Joseph Maria show off our first harvest of grapes!

Sr. Joseph Maria examines the damage left by the chipmunks while Fred tries to help out!

The community ate it all up on Sunday which led to, "Can you teach us how to make pie?" Sr. Mary Catharine's first summer/after school job was with her sister who worked the Benedictine Nuns of St. Scholastica Priory, Petersham, MA (they were in Still River back then) when they ran a successful, busy bakery. Sister says that she never worked so hard in her life and decided that she never wanted to be a contemplative nun! (Really?)

However, she did learn how to make pie! After all, for Thanksgiving and Christmas each they would roll out by hand the crusts for 5,000 pies, fill them and bake them!

So, today was Pie Baking Class. The original plan was to make three pies but the sisters were SO good at it that they made the biblical SEVEN: 2 pecan, 2 pumpkin (our own pumpkin), 2 apple, 1 lemon meringue and 1 cherry. We sampled them for dinner and they were scrumptious!

Check it out! Our first homemade pie!

Srs. Diana Marie, Mary Catharine, Lauren, Mary Martha and Joseph Maria show off just a few of the fruits of their labors. (Sr. Mary Amata was busy doing KP duty upstairs.)

A day such as this is not only fun but truly formative. The sisters learn the skills that make a monastery truly a home, they learn how to work together and they experience the joy of making something tasty and wholesome from scratch by their own labor.