THUNDER BAY -- Regulars of the Thunder Bay Country Market, Malcolm and Amanda Hope used to get pies at Pie.ology every week with their kids. Fresh out of the oven, filling and convenient, the pies were a family favourite and the Hopes were dismayed to find out that the former owners of Pie.ology were moving out of town. A joke from Amanda (“why don’t we put in an offer for Pie.ology?”) led to some real thinking and the conclusion; “why not?”
Neither had any previous experience in the food industry, but they genuinely loved the pies and were loath to see them disappear. They bought the business in October 2018, and with the business came the precious recipes for the irresistible savoury hand pies beloved by many.
The couple kept old favourites such as the Ham and Swiss pie and Ploughman’s pie (North Country Meats mild Italian sausage, mashed potatoes, cheese and roasted red peppers) but started expanding the menu. Being from Scotland, Malcolm introduced a sausage roll, which quickly became a popular staple.
While the two are still experimenting with the menu, customers can always expect a breakfast pie of some sort (currently there are three on rotation) and several classics are on a bi-weekly rotation. Most market days, you can find up to six different kinds of pies available for purchase, and they have started introducing sweet or fruit pies from time to time as well.
The crusts are made with butter (except for the vegan ones) and because the pies freeze excellently, Malcolm makes them well in advance of market days. Customers can buy frozen pies as well, so that they can be baked at home. Most of the other pies are baked on-site.
The Hopes have been in Thunder Bay for over 15 years and during that time, the Country Market has grown exponentially. “For a town the size of Thunder Bay, this is an incredible achievement,” Malcolm says. Surrounded by bakers, artisans, growers and farmers, Pie.ology sources many of their ingredients from their fellow vendors as well as from local suppliers and producers.
An avid gardener, Malcom has used tomatillos from their own garden in some of their veggie breakfast pies and hopes to do more of that this growing season. “Malcolm has big plans - he’s the veggie gardener,” explains Amanda. “I normally grow tomatoes and tomatillos - considering Thunder Bay’s climate, tomatillos do amazingly well. And we do things like peppers, green beans, potatoes, chilli peppers grow well too. Whatever we grow this year, we’ll try to find a recipe for,” says Malcolm.