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CHEAP EATS: Vala's Thanksgiving Market

Posted at 5:56 PM, Nov 16, 2023

GRETNA, Neb. (KMTV) — Halloween has come and gone but folks will still be making their way to a local pumpkin patch soon. That's because Thanksgiving is just a week away.

As 3 News Now's Serese Cole reports - if you don't have the time or the energy to make your holiday pies - Vala's is here to help.

It's crunch time at the Vala's Pie Barn.

"I feel like Vala's isn't done until Thanksgiving," smiled Andrea Brown.

She's the Pie Production Supervisor at Vala's Pumpkin Patch. There's also a pie crew.

"We tease that we have the pie elves back here working - just line up and knock it out," she chuckled.

The elves are gearing up for the eighth Thanksgiving Market. It started with one hundred pies and one pie maker. This year, the pie patrol will crank out three thousand - in three weeks.

"The pie production is very intense. You're cleaning, you're lifting, you're scraping - you're using muscles that I call your pie muscles that you don't know you had until you're balling dough," she explained.

The pies are all made, then frozen.

From Apple Cranberry to Bourbon Pecan, shelves and shelves of pies are stored in their two freezers until baking day.

"Baking day is an intense process. We start about 4:00 a.m. and we go 'til 10 at night and those ovens are never empty for a moment. Just pies after pies after pies - keep feeding the oven," she shared.

We stopped by on crust day.

"So after we make the crust - we spend a lot of time balling," she showed as the pie crew balled the dough.

"If you know how to make a snowball, you know how to make a dough ball," a member of the pie patrol said laughing.

Crust day also involves a little kneading and some sheeting.

"This is wonderful. Put it through the top, going to shove it in the side and then voila - that's a whole lot of rolling that did for us," she explained as the dough went through the sheeter.

The next stop was the crimping station.

"Our beautiful crimps...this is something we are very proud of. They have to be schooled on getting the perfect crimp," Andrea revealed.

Lonnie Gibson: This is my fifth season.
Serese: So, you're a pie veteran?

"I am not a veteran considering there are people who have been here much longer than me... but I enjoy it. It's the relationships more than anything else," pie maker Lonnie Green expressed.

Serese: Even more than the pies?
Lonnie: Yes - LOL!

There are ten pies to choose from at the Thanksgiving Market. Andrea showed me their premiere pie - the Salted Caramel Apple Pie.

Serese: Look at the caramel!

"Oh yes, all the goodness - who doesn't want some of that," she asked as she drizzled the caramel on the pie. "And then we'll get some sea salt on the top. That's our Caramel Apple Salted Pie."

Serese: It's weighty...you were right.
Andrea: It's loaded with apples, apples and love.

Two pounds of apples to be exact.

The Cherry Pie is another big seller. It's made with two pounds of cherries and a hint of almond extract. It's literally made with love.

Serese: Is the cherry pie the only one that has the hearts on top?
Lonnie: Yes. Every top-crusted pie has a different look. So, when they're sitting there you don't have to peek inside to see what it is.

The Classic Pumpkin Pie is made with pumpkins grown right at Vala's Pumpkin Patch.

Sunni has been making these pies for ten years.

"The crust and the warmth of the pies. I just love it. I just want to give them the joy of the pies," she smiled.

"When I'm at my Thanksgiving table enjoying pie - it's like how many people are enjoying our pies. It's cool," smiled Klya Shaver.

Serese (after tasting pies): "I'm thankful for your pies this Thanksgiving!
Andrea: We're thankful you came to check out our pies.

Pies these pros take pride in making.

"It's important to provide those pies for people's holidays. It's kind of an honor to be able to provide those for Thanksgiving," Andrea smiled.

You only have two days next week to order or pick up those Thanksgiving pies. The market is Tuesday, Nov. 21 from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and Wednesday, Nov. 22 from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The Thanksgiving Market is located inside the Exit Barn at Vala's Pumpkin Patch at 12102 South 180th Street in Gretna.

Here's a list of all the Pies for Sale: Monster Cookie Pie, Apple Crumb Pie, Classic Pumpkin Pie, Bourbon Pecan Pie, Northern Spy Apple Pie, Salted Caramel Apple Pie, Apple Cranberry Pie, Brown Butter Salted Honey Pie, Cherry Pie, Family-Size Apple Crisp - Gluten Sensitive.

In addition to the pies, you can also purchase pot pies, frozen pies, pie crusts, soft pretzels, fudge, caramel apples, apple cider donuts, kettle corn, hard cider and much more. To see the full market menu, go to valaspumpkinpatch.com.

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