Apple pie is the first lady, if not the president, of American pies. Connecticut is known for its apple pies, in large part because many of the best bakeries in the Nutmeg State use locally grown apples; some of these apples are so local that they are grown in orchards on the farms in which these bakeries are located. Here are just five of the top bakers of apple pies in Connecticut.

Bishop’s Orchards
1355 Boston Post Road
Guilford, CT 06437
(203) 453-2338
bishopsorchards.com

The Bishop family not only makes great apple pies in their bakery, they also grow the apples for the desserts on their own land. Bishop’s Orchards has been around for about a century and a half, and anyone who lives in or visits the Connecticut shore around Guilford knows that Bishop’s is the top place to go for fresh fruit in season, and out of season. Bishop’s uses a special “crisp air” method in its storehouse to keep apples as crisp as the day they were picked.

Lyman Orchards Apple Barrel Market
32 Reeds Gap Road
Middlefield, CT 06455
(860) 349-1793
lymanorchards.com

Lyman Orchards is one of the oldest continually operating orchards in the Nutmeg State. In its 275th consecutive year, Lyman Orchards prides itself on keeping true to its colonial heritage, while also using some of the most modern methods to grow, harvest and prepare the apples and other fruits used in the bakery’s pies. Those bakers put at least two pounds of apple in every pie they make, making these apple desserts among the biggest, tallest pies available anywhere in New England. People come from all around the region to spend the day at Lyman Orchards; the location even boasts a golf course.

Blackberry River Baking Co.
18 E. Main St.
Canaan, CT 06018
(860) 824-8275
www.blackberryriver.com

Audrey Leary makes a mean apple pie, along with other assorted pies, cakes, cookies, breads and other bakery delights. A veteran of the New York City bakery game, Audrey decided a few years ago to move to the country. In Connecticut, Canaan is the epitome of a “country” town, with more cows in the population than people (4,000 cows to 3,000 people). Audrey and her husband Sam, along with their assistant baker Nicole Beattie, love pie, and that love shows in their apple pie, a slice of which makes a great compliment to the sandwiches, soups and salads the restaurant and bakery also sells.

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Granny’s Pie Factory
103 School St.
East Hartford, CT 06018
(860) 291-1164
www.grannyspiefactory.com

Granny’s Pie Factory not only serves up a magnificent apple pie, but also certifies that it is “100 percent HKC Kosher,” as are all of the pies Joan and Anton Harovas and their son Nikos make. That is no small matter, as this bakery makes more than four dozen varieties every day, many of which are sent out fresh to restaurants, diners, grocery stores and other vendors in the greater Hartford area and beyond.

Elmwood Pastry Shop
1136 New Britain Ave.
West Hartford, CT 06110
(860) 233-2029
www.elmwoodpastryshop.com

Founded in 1948 and still run by the same family, the Elmwood Pastry shop in West Hartford has had nearly 70 years to perfect its pie recipes. That effort shows, especially in its signature apple caramel, a unique take on the traditional apple pie. The bakers drizzle a generous portion of caramel over the top, and the pie is especially good when re-warmed in the oven, making the caramel soft and melted.

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Mark G. McLaughlin is a professional and prolific writer with a proven publishing record in a wide variety of fields. An historian, novelist, freelance journalist, ghost-writer, book reviewer, magazine editor, web and magazine columnist, Mark has more than 30 years of experience. His work can be found at Examiner.com.