It all started in the humble kitchen of Sarah Troyer. Sarah and her husband Abe lived on a small farm near Apple Creek where they raised chickens and sold the eggs to make ends meet. Troubled times took a toll on the small community and the Troyers needed to find a way to keep their small farm from going under. Sarah soon found herself whipping up some baked goods in her small kitchen from cherished family recipes and sending them along with Abe on his egg routes to help supplement the farm income.
The egg business made ingredients readily available to Sarah as she used the egg whites to make angel food cakes and egg yolks to make noodles. Sarah had an exceptional talent for baking and her baked goods caught on like wildfire within the small community. Soon, the demand for Sarah's fine baking became greater than the demand for eggs.
In 1966, a small red barn was built on their property to house a small bakery for Sarah to work in. By 1974, the Troyer's had moved into the town of Apple Creek and built a small bakery nestled in the bend in the road on State Route 250. Although the business has grown, it still remains in this location at the corner of State Route 250 and Apple Creek Road.
Sarah worked long and hard to keep up with the rapid growing demand of her old fashioned recipes. Paul Troyer, Abe and Sarah's son and current owner of Troyer's Home Pantry, explained that these old fashioned recipes are still used in the bakery today. "We have 45 different pies made from recipes handed down from mother and grandmother," said Troyer.
"We are primarily known for our pies," said Troyer. The extensive list of pies includes flavors such as blueberry crème, cherry crumb, blackberry, raspberry, German chocolate, peanut butter and custard just to name a few.
Troyer feels their second most popular baked good is their cinnamon rolls. These mouth watering treats are whipped up every night from their signature sweet dough, rolled up with cinnamon and baked to golden brown perfection. To top it all off, they are covered with a maple frosting before served to customers. Complete with a fresh cup of coffee, one has just created a breakfast to die for.
Many customers take advantage of this peaceful and delicious smelling atmosphere to enjoy a fresh cup of coffee and a pastry. Small dining tables, draped in red and white and black checked table clothes, line the walls of the quaint, café style bakery. Customers share quiet conversations, while others escape from the office for a peaceful change of scenery to work and enjoy fresh pastries.
Pies and cinnamon rolls are not the only delectable goodies that keep customers coming back for more. Troyers also offers four different flavors of angel food cake, breads and rolls, cookies and homemade Amish noodles, which are also a big hit amongst the tourists.
"We are most proud of our ability to keep our quality up," said Troyer. "Next year we will be going on 40 years (in the current location) and the quality of our products is as good now as it was then."
Being a family business, Troyer and his sons bought the business from Troyer's dad . "A lot of times third generation are not interested in taking over the family business," said Troyer. "I am proud of my sons for taking on the business and continuing to make it successful." Branden, Ryan and Jordan Troyer will all play a role in keeping the family business successful in the coming years.
Currently Troyer's does not have any plans for expansion but they are always looking for new ideas to continue to make their small operation successful. Troyer's distributes products from Youngstown to Toledo and provides services to many restaurants and stores throughout Ohio.
A second location can be found conveniently in downtown Wooster on East North Street. Troyer explained this location was built in 1985 to produce their brownies, oatmeal raisin cookies and sugar free pies. The location offers all the same delicious baked goods as the Apple Creek location and serves as a drive through for those looking to grab a coffee and donut for the road.
Naturally, the holidays prove to be a very busy time for the bakery. Troyer said 14,000 pies are made during the Thanksgiving week and 6,000 pies are made around the week of Christmas.
Troyer enjoys seeing the familiar faces of regular customers stopping in for their morning bite and loyal customers who return during their visits to Amish country. There are times when the tables are full and the shop is bustling with conversation and other times when only a couple customers sit quietly enjoying their treats. The next time you're passing by, stop in and try the pie of the month.
Troyer's Home Pantry is located at 668 West Main Street (US 250) in Apple Creek. Store hours are weekdays from 6 a.m.-6 p.m. and Saturday from 6 a.m.-5 p.m. For more information call 330-698-4182 or visit www.troyershomepantry.com. The Wooster retail store is located at 317 East North Street and is open Tuesday through Friday from 6 a.m.-4 p.m. and Saturday from 6 a.m.-2 p.m. For more information call 330-263-1990.