Saturday, September 15, 2012
Tillie's Cafe, $3
A local politician, newspaper cartoonist, and professional baker, Andrew "A.W." Piper sounds like the kind of guy I'd welcome getting stuck next to on a long flight. In 1889 the "Great Fire" that destroyed much of Seattle leveled his bakery. The Piper family moved further out of town, to a small group of abandoned loggers' cabins, where they planted a large garden and a fruit orchard. Piper's heirs later sold the land to the Carkeek family, who donated the area now known as Carkeek Park to the city of Seattle in 1927.
In 1983 the remains of the overgrown orchard were identified on a slope running along Piper's creek. A team of volunteers have slowly coaxed the apple, quince, and nut trees back to productivity, preserving a juicy slice of Seattle's horticultural past.
The park now hosts a "Festival of Fruit" each fall, featuring live music, a cider press, fruit tasting and identification, expert lectures, and an apple pie contest. Additional apple pies are available by the slice from "Tillie's Cafe", a folding table named in honor of the Pipers' daughter. The Festival also offers the perfect opportunity to walk off some of that pie; hike around the steep slopes of the Pipers' verdant orchard, take in the boozy perfume of the windfall apples, and think about how much has changed in the last 100 years--and how much hasn't.