Tumbleweed Smith
Tumbleweed Smith

There’s a place in Stamford you just can’t pass by. You have to stop and go in. Big letters on the front of the building spell out Fried Pies. A big sign near the yellow front door advertises fried pies and laundry pickup. The building used to be a wholesale warehouse that stored candies and tobacco for distribution over a large area. Now it is a big fried pie kitchen.

Burney and Charlotte Herman own the business. In 2016, Charlotte spent some time developing her fried pie recipe. When she gave Burney a sample, he said, “We could sell these.” So they started selling their pies on Facebook, making them at home.

“We had a small trailer with a fryer in it,” says Buney. “She’d do everything by hand, using a rolling pin to roll out the dough.”

During Stamford’s July 4th rodeo, Burney rigged up a trailer on the back of his golf cart and drove back and forth behind the stalls, around the bleachers and sold 300 pies. Now they have a mobile kitchen where pies can be made on site. They have seven employees that make the pies and get them to stores and restaurants in Haskell, Albany,Aspermont and Abilene.

The pies are huge: 9 by 4 inches and come in a variety of flavors. Charlotte lists them: “Apple, cherry, peach, apricot, buttermilk chess, strawberry, blueberry, lemon, coconut and pineapple.”

Sometimes they make 800 pies a day. I watched one of their young helpers create a pie by filling the round piece of dough, folding it and crimping it with a fork. Each pie is made that way. “The only equipment we have is a roller to roll our rounds out,” says Burney. “Everything else is done by hand.”

Since moving into their building last year, business has increased substantially. “People see our place and drop in. During the rodeo we’ll sell thousands of pies. I put some racks in the trailer I pull with my golf cart so I can have a large selection of pies to choose from.”

They make other things besides pies. “She makes a chocolate cake to die for,” says Burney. “We make peanut butter cookies and chocolate chip cookies. During the winter we do frozen casseroles.” Charlotte added: “We do chicken salad every day, all day and homemade tortillas on Friday.”
Their place is also a laundry and cleaning drop off point. Like other small towns that don’t have a cleaning establishment, Stamford uses Charlotte and Burney’s place as a drop-off place where people take their laundry. It’s picked up and taken to a larger town for cleaning.

“The driver shows up every day at 9 AM Monday through Thursday,” says Charlotte. “He picks it up and people get their laundry back the next day. I gave some thought to taking on the laundry, but decided it would be a good draw for the pies. They’ll come in, drop off their clothes, pick them up the next day and they’re going to buy some pies. That’s pretty much what has happened. Now we have 300 laundry customers. I would not be where I am today had it not been for dirty laundry.”