Beautiful days ahead with cooler temperatures

First in their Field: This Oklahoma family knows pies

PAULS VALLEY, Okla. - The numbers alone should tell you about the popularity of pies in Oklahoma and about one kind of pie in particular.

"We use about a million pounds a year of pecans and 2 million pounds of sugar," said Chris Field.

He is the third crop of Fields making pies in Pauls Valley, and they've learned to make a lot of them at one time.

You could do the math, but the assembly line is moving too fast, so we'll tell you.

That's just over one cup of locally-produced pecans going into each pie.

Figure up to 20,000 pies a day, and the Field's factory is able to ship the round goodies to 25 states.

"We've done it for so long, we know what we're doing," Chris said.

Chris and his sister only heard about the old filling station his grandad, Julian Field, opened with his brother in the early 1920s.

A restaurant soon followed, even cottages.

But, Julian's wife, Hazelle, hit it big with her pies and cakes, first with the diner crowd then delivering to the city, county and right on up.

"The next thing you know, we had 13 delivery trucks," Chris said.

When Julian Sr. retired and Julian Jr. took over, Field's Pies were all over the state.

Chris' dad built the factory in the 1970s, and the restaurant eventually closed.

Everyone was just too busy with the sweet stuff: pecan pies, lemon and chocolate pies, too.

Chris peeks into a window in the factory oven.

"They're looking good now," he said. "This is about 15 minutes in."

The factory oven alone is 100 feet long.

Hot pies cool to room temperature on racks and on this big, circular cooling tower.

Pie making is a science, but Chris insists it's still Grandma Hazelle's recipe.

They look like this in the grocery store. They look like this just before dessert on Thanksgiving.

"Everyone is going to have to have one of these on their table then," he said.

For more information on the history of Field's Pies and their products, go to www.fieldspies.com.