CLEWISTON -- Ashley Lauren Davis is the head baker of Sassy Pies, a popular new vegan micro bakery, in Clewiston, where she and her family have lived for many years.
Customers come from Moore Haven to Lehigh Acres, and everywhere in between, to enjoy her pies.
“Clewiston is a great place to live and raise a family. Everyone knows everyone, which some people consider a downfall, but I greatly appreciate. There’s nothing like small town living,” said Davis. “I was raised in Clewiston by my grandparents. My grandpa has worked at US Sugar for 39 years! I’ve lived here my whole life -- left for school for about a year and couldn’t stay away. This is home.”
The young entrepreneur said she has always enjoyed cooking for her family, but did not start baking from scratch until this year.
“My favorite part is definitely watching it all come together.” She describes, “To see a bag of flour and a pile of fresh fruit turn into a beautiful, golden pie and know that I made it! Then hearing from my customers how much they and their families enjoyed it, makes my day.
“I started in late January 2021 and haven’t stopped baking for the last 2 months,” said Davis. “All of my baked goods are made from scratch using only plant-based ingredients, no eggs or dairy. I focus mainly on pies, hence the name, but also make banana bread and my famous crusties!”
What’s a crustie? Davis explains, “I get a LOT of compliments on my crust. So these are “cookies” made out of and flavored the same way my pie crusts are! So they’re not really cookies, they’re little bite size pieces of pie crust!”
These “crusties” must be good, because at The Market on Bond last Saturday, she sold out of 30 bags of crusties, and 60 slices of pie, in less than an hour.
How did Sassy Pies get started? Her family switched to a plant-based diet, also known as vegan, in July 2020. While trying to find healthy, plant-based foods, she was shocked to find out just how many products contained dairy and eggs. “Especially sweets,” she said.
“So, I set out to learn to bake at home from scratch for my family,” Davis explained. “I won’t lie, the first apple pie I attempted was a complete DISASTER. I can’t even describe the mess and the horror that followed ... seriously. I told my husband I wish I had taken photos and he replied 'No. No one ever needed to see that.' Not one to accept defeat, I made it my mission to teach that pie a thing or two and try again.”
She added, “Once I perfected a blueberry pie, my husband posted on Facebook urging that I share my new found talent with others. From there, Sassy Pies was born!
“Plant-based 'diets' don’t have to be diets! I feel like when people hear 'vegan; baked goods, they automatically think it is missing something, lacking in taste, or just outright not good,” Davis said. “I promise you, you won’t be able to tell a difference with Sassy Pies. In fact, the vast majority of my customers are definitely not vegans, but they still come back to Sassy Pies again and again!
“I’m a full time mom with a full time job in accounting, and head baker at Sassy Pies on nights and weekends," Davis said. She is absolutely motivated by her family, “Especially my daughters and my niece. To show them that as women, we can do anything we set our minds to, including starting and running a successful side business in addition to being a full time working wife and mother.
“My niece is definitely my muse though. She calls me Sassy, which is where the name Sassy Pies came from.”
As for having bakery staff, her employees are, “Me, myself and I!” Davis said. “Unless you count my husband who makes countless trips to the store to keep me supplied!
“My husband is definitely a big inspiration for me," she continued. "He works hard every day for our family without a complaint. When I’m tired from my 9-5 job and wonder how in the world I’ll be able to spend all of my time off baking, I think about all of the hard work he puts in daily and it makes baking feel like a piece of pie!”
Her personal philosophy, that has also become a business motto: “If you can live your life without causing harm to others, why would you not? I guess that’s pretty self explanatory, and part of the reason I use only plant based ingredients in my baking.”
What are her hopes for the future?
“My hope for Sassy Pies is that it continues to flourish and grow. I hope to one day be able to maybe even expand and have a storefront where families can come together and enjoy something sweet. Either way, I look forward to helping make life sweet for families around the lake for years to come!”
“I do drawings and raffles at least once a month for my customers to have a chance to win free or discounted baked goods. I try to keep my prices as low as possible so that anyone and everyone can enjoy a special treat!” Davis added, “I will also be donating some sweets to the Easter Dessert Auction benefiting the Gulf Coast Humane Society at the Clewiston Elks Lodge on Thursday, April 1 from 6-8 p.m. Be sure to come out and bid on a yummy pie to help out the animals!
“We are a very Facebook focused business! I advertise new products, promotions and everything else there,” said Davis. “Messaging me there is the best way to place an order, view our menu, and anything else you may need!”
To learn more, visit Sassy Pies on Facebook: https://m.facebook.com/Sassy-Pies-100948362004410/