"Oh my gosh, Nicole! These pies are sugar-free!" my mom screamed at me through the thick crowd at the farmer's market. It was nearly noon and the sun was bearing down on the back of my neck and causing my spine to sweat. It was bearable because I was so distracted by all the people and activities and dogs on leashes weaving their way through the packed sidewalks. My mom's words were music to my ears. I was busy staring at the baseball-sized radishes at the next booth when I heard her yell. I back-tracked and immediately feasted my eyes on the pies spread out over the table. "Pear sweetened," the ingredients label said. I asked the guy behind the table if that was correct. "We don't use any refined sugar. We use a natural sweetener that comes from our pears." There were so many flavors but I was obsessed with two in particular: rhubarb and rhubarb-strawberry. It didn't take me long to pick up the rhubarb strawberry pie. It felt like it weighed about 10 pounds. I carried my pie all throughout the market and after a while my arm started aching under the weight of it. Once we returned home, I dove into that pie...right into the belly of it. The crust just melted in my mouth and the strawberries tasted very fresh. It was almost too sweet, though. I didn't get the satisfaction that the tartness of rhubarb usually gives. But it was loaded with both strawberries and rhubarb and very tasty. Next time I visit the market, I am going to find out if they sell the sweetener. The farm is called, "Packer Orchards". They had a great selection of fresh-picked cherries and also miscellaneous baked goods (not all sugar-free!).
On a side note, at a different booth at the market, I saw giant cucumbers and even larger carrots. I bought a carrot that was bigger around than my arm. Organic? I don't think so!