September 14, 2019
By Dan Purkey
One does not need to live along the McKenzie River very long to discover the scrumptious pies and cinnamon rolls created by Carolyn Nesslin. I have been told that the “goodies” delivered to Blue Sky Market are often gone in a matter of hours! When visiting Facebook, I discovered almost 200 “thumbs up” accolades for these delicious pies and treats.
With such talent, you would think that Carolyn was baking all of her life, perfecting her art; but such was not the case. Originally from a Pennsylvania farm family, Carolyn, her three older brothers and parents moved to Pueblo, CO. when she was 5. Her father (a truck driver) decided to move the family to Compton, CA. when she was 10; and it was there that she met her Navy husband (John). While still in S. California, they had Marie and Johnnie; and John began working for North American Aviation (later bought by Boeing).
Through a series of events, John’s brother (Ed) moved to the McKenzie around 1975 and eventually bought a plastering business. In 1978, John, Carolyn and family followed Ed to the Northwest and to Nimrod; where John would work with his brother until retirement.
Carolyn began her cooking career at the Village Café, but had no professional experience. With training gone awry, Carolyn learned on her own! Originally, Vi’s family owned the restaurant, and Vi was the baker of pies and cinnamon rolls. Soon after Carolyn’s arrival, the restaurant was bought by Lou Sangermano; later the name was changed to “Mom’s Pies.”
Before retiring in 1981, Vi taught Carolyn how to bake pies and rolls (Even though Carolyn protested that she could not do it); but history would beg to differ from her!
The rest is history, from Mom’s Pies to the Rustic Skillet and finally to the United States Basketball Academy Training Camp (2000)…..where she currently cooks. Along with her endeavors at the Camp, she also began her own pie business (selling to restaurants, markets and individuals).
If you want the experience of enjoying Carolyn’s Pies, you can reach her (anytime, although you may need to leave a message) at 541-822-3366. “Bon Appetit.”