On a weekend morning in mid-August, customers trickle into St. Paul’s driveway, where a small farmer’s market is held.
Fresh produce isn’t the only incentive to arrive early. He of Betty’s pie is also more likely to walk away with one. No, this is not Betty’s Pies of Two Harbors fame.
Rather, these pies are baked by Betty Lotterman, who hosts a driveway market and makes fresh baked goods from the produce she grows. Blueberry pie and muffins were the special of the day.
“I like the pie because it’s not too sweet,” said Kim Strain, a neighbor who shops there for food and a better business model. “It grows organically and creates no waste.” It’s Betty’s concern about things.She believes everyone has a right to good food.”
For Strain and others who shop there, Rotterman, known as the Pie Lady, is known for more than baked goods.
Using a licensed food producer, Lotterman lives up to its mission of providing delicious, healthy food at affordable prices to your neighbors using a pay-as-you-want business model. Proceeds from markets and other fundraising events benefit local food banks.
“I’m using it to raise money for Second Harvest Heartland, so it can help feed many others, too,” said the winner of the 2022-23 Star Tribune Beautiful Garden Contest. Rotterman said.
Lotterman grew up gardening with his mother on a farm near Edgerton in Southwest Minnesota. In her later years, she began experimenting in the kitchen, incorporating foods from other cultures and places she had visited to create her own recipes.
Fans of her cooking encouraged her to open restaurants and bakeries. However, with three children, Mounds had a full-time job as a Spanish teacher at View Public School, which derailed it.
Then in 2016, as the kids grew up, the recently retired Lotterman launched Betty’s Business. This is the ideal environment to develop a love of gardening and implement a healthy and affordable food philosophy.
Rotterman’s St. Anthony Park backyard has more than 40 varieties of produce. These were all grown from seed by Rottermann with the help of his 5-year-old grandson, Thomas.
“He’s been gardening since he was one year old. He knows perfectly how to plant and grow plants,” she said.
Plum and apple trees native to Minnesota thrive, including those that produce Haralson, which Lotterman said was “perfect for making apple pie.”
This Sunday morning, the driveway market reflected what was ripening in the garden. A dozen blueberry pies and muffins were packaged and ready to go.
“I just baked it this morning,” said Lotterman. “Everything is always fresh.”
Preservatives and produce were also available. It was served with crab apple jelly, along with herbs such as basil, sage, coriander, mint, and thyme, as well as vegetables such as zucchini, cucumber, tomato, onion, and garlic. Lotterman regularly puts together salsa kits (tomatillos, onions, garlic, cilantro, and limes to make salsa verde this week) and provides recipe cards.
“Most of the salsa ingredients come from my garden,” she admits. “You can’t grow limes in Minnesota — even if it works a miracle.”
Lotterman hosts six farmers’ markets during the growing season, approximately every three weekends, and advertises the dates through its email list and social media. Seasonally, she also runs a small community-supported farming program, bringing produce to elderly families.
In early June, Lotterman held a seed and plant sale that last year raised $1,200 for Second Harvest Heartland. At the end of the summer, she hosts the annual Artists’ Dinner and fundraiser on the lawn for about 60 people. Local musicians give concerts, and attendees eat food that Lottermann sources from her garden.
Like her other endeavors, Dinner is based on a pay as you can model. The event also featured the work of a local artist, showing an upcycled bus shelter in her backyard.
Other times, the bus shelter serves as a hangout for Lottermans salvaged from the corner of Como and Carter Avenues during road construction projects.
“I was biking around a construction site when I saw a bus shelter above a large payload bucket. I approached the driver and asked where the bus shelter was. “Lottermann trimmed it up and outfitted it with cushions, outdoor heating lamps, and cedar shingles.”[It was] It is in great condition with all those steel beams, glass and wood. ”
it’s a lifestyle
Rottermann aims to keep the garden as green as possible while reducing fossil fuels. She does not use pesticides or herbicides in her own garden and her fertilizer comes from an on-site composting operation. She uses solar energy for food processing. She also packages the items she sells in reusable containers.
She is so eco-friendly that she hauls whatever she needs for her garden in a wheelbarrow or Schwinn.
“I don’t own a car … which means we’ve developed an ecosystem that doesn’t need to add or remove much,” Lotterman said. “We use the natural cycle to grow wonderful vegetables, fruits and beautiful flowers. Solar panels provide us with the energy we need.”
Her customers, pie or not, couldn’t be more grateful for Lotterman’s efforts.
Former neighbor Paige Harker is commuting from her new location in Maplewood. That August day, Harker arrived too late to get the pie, but he walked away with wax beans and fresh blueberries.
“I’ve been here three years and I keep coming back,” Harker said. “It’s really an experience and you get to meet people in your neighborhood. It’s such a great community.”