‘Bring Me An Apple Pie’

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— Ann Reilly Cole

Julian is so well known for its flaky fruit pastries that its residents often hear, “Did you bring me a pie?” when they venture out to visit folks who don’t live in the area. 

The branding of Julian as the place for a hand-rolled, freshly baked apple pie was made from scratch nearly 150 years ago. 

It began in the 1870s, when town fathers sat under the Counsel Oak Tree to discuss the community’s future. Representatives set out to acquire apple trees that became Julian’s first orchards.

Chilly winters proved hospitable for the apple, and later, pear trees. By the early 1900s, Julian’s exceptional apples had won numerous blue ribbons at county and world fairs. 

By the mid 1900s, Julian marked the harvest with an annual October event that drew so many tourists that the 
occasion, now known as “Apple Days,” is celebrated with fun activities throughout the season. 

Shops and restaurants that famously bake their own pies opened during the 1980s, where tourists happily watch the pies being made in the storefront windows while they wait in line for their slice a la mode, or to bring home whole pies to share at their dinner tables. 

Since 2008, the Julian Woman’s Club has sponsored an annual contest, with a cash award and some notoriety going to the baker with the best pie. 

With this much history, Julian’s place as a pie-making capital is rolling along.