February 26th is National Pistachio Day. A great day to remember the industry’s own Pistachio Pie.
Legends like Indian Acres MM Pistachio Pie are not born every day, but that’s what sets them apart, makes them special, and makes them devastating to lose.
Pistachio Pie passed away peacefully earlier this year, just shy of her 16th birthday, at Indian Acres in South Deerfield, MA. And while losing a legend that brought so many memories for the Sears family was extremely difficult for them, the story of Pistachio Pie is far from over.
The Sears family has a long history with the Guernsey breed. Mom, Carrie Sears, was given her first Guernsey calf at the age of four and her passion for the breed developed from there. Keeping the tradition alive, Carrie gave daughter Ashley her first Guernsey calf at the age of six, Ivera Heralds Prudence, who was a sixth generation EX cow bred in Nova Scotia, Canada. Prudence was nominated All-American Senior 2 year old, but unfortunately didn’t provide any heifer calves for Ashley, so Carrie began to seek out another cow family that Ashley would be able to build her herd from.
Buying a Pie
Carrie first spotted Wabanaki PV Frank Pecan Pie when she was officiating the 4-H Judging Contest at the Big E in 1995. Pecan Pie was being used in the 3 year old class for the competition and Carrie knew immediately that she wanted to buy her. Pecan Pie was bred and owned by Carrie and Lois Whitcomb of Maine, and Carrie was able to purchase Pie with her father that afternoon. Pecan Pie would go on to be Grand Champion of the Guernsey show the next day and then traveled to World Dairy Expo where she would finish 2nd in the Junior 3 Year old class, claiming Reserve Intermediate & HM Grand Champion of the Show.
Making More Pie
Backed by 4 generations of VG dams, Pecan Pie was first mated with Dutch Mill Telestars Fayette. This mating produced two daughters, one of which was Indian Acres Fays Pumpkin Pie who scored VG-87. In 1999, Pumpkin Pie earned HM All-American honors as a Spring Yearling after finishing 2nd at Madison, and would come back the following year to win the Junior 2 Year old class at the Big E. Crossed with Four Winds Magicman, Pumpkin Pie produced two daughters two years apart, Peach Pie in 2000 and Pistachio Pie in 2002.
Pistachio Pie was born earlier than expected and weighed only 40 lbs., but she was aggressive and never missed a beat. Since she was quite gangly with her long frame and set to her legs, the Sears’ decided not to show her as a Spring Calf. When she made her first show ring appearance at the Big E in the Junior Yearling class, she was 1st and Junior Champion in both the open and junior shows. Pistachio Pie calved for the first time in April of 2004 and was very immature. By fall she’d developed enough that she traveled back to the Big E where she was 1st and Grand Champion in both the open and junior shows again, which she followed up with a 2nd place finish in the junior show and 4th in the open at Louisville, KY, earning her an All-American nomination in the Junior 2 Class (HM AA Junior 2 in the Junior Division).
Pistachio Pie hit her stride as a 4 year old in the show ring. She captured Grand Champion honors at the New York Spring Show, followed by Harrisburg and Louisville in the fall, earning her All-American 4 Year Old in both the open and junior divisions. As a 5 Year old, after scoring EX-94 with a 95 point mammary, there was no denying Pistachio Pie and she would claim Grand at the New York Spring show again, followed by Grand and Supreme honors at Harrisburg and then Madison.
Supreme Champion Pie
Pistachio Pie’s supreme win in both the open and junior divisions was definitely the highlight of Ashley’s show career, “It was unbelievable!” Pistachio Pie became only the second Guernsey to ever win the Supreme title at World Dairy Expo, and Ashley became the first Junior Member to win Supreme in both divisions in the same year. “When they announced that she had won, Pie reared her head back like she knew. I can’t say enough of how that moment and Pistachio Pie impacted my life,” says Ashley.
Following her Supreme win, Pistachio Pie retired in South Deerfield in order to produce some heifer calves. “We didn’t have any daughters out of her at that point,” says Carrie, “so we decided to get her on a flush program.” The first conventional flushes produced only males, so Pistachio Pie headed to Iowa to enroll in an extensive IVF program which produced offspring by Yogi Bear, Loral and Golddust.
The Impact of Pie
The impact of Pistachio Pie on Ashley’s Indian Acres herd is undeniable. While Pie was still living there were six generations of her family on the farm. She has 10 EX daughters and her offspring average 89 points overall. Pie currently has daughters, granddaughters, and great granddaughters on the CPI list, she has had daughters become top various sales, and other offspring win at national shows.
Equally undeniable is Pistachio Pie’s impact on the Guernsey breed through her sons. Indian Acres American Pie (S: Challenge) was the top seller at the 2007 International Guernsey Sale at Madison and has been Premier Sire there for the past two years. American Pie is still one of the best bulls for Productive Life and he has sired many sons on the TPI bull list. Other sons of Pistachio Pie include Pies, Prada, Phoenix, and Patriot, who have also all had All-American nominated progeny.
“Pistachio Pie was a true diva,” says Carrie. “If she wasn’t fed on time at a show or on the way to a show she would become fussy.” Pie loved when show time rolled around because she loved being pampered and she would often suck on her tongue which was a good indication that she was relaxed. “She loved to be outside and could open the gate to her pen both directions, so she’d let herself out with the rest of her herd and then return back to her pen at night.” After returning from the IVF program, Pie lived out the rest of her days in South Deerfield, where she walked up and down the hills to keep her strong and often came to the fence for scratches from Carrie and Ashley. She is now buried in her favorite spot, beneath the old apple tree in the meadow.
Indian Acres MM Pistachio Pie is one of the best Guernseys to ever live and although she has moved on to greener pastures, her legacy and influence on the breed will continue on.
“Some legends are told,
Some turn to dust or to gold,
But you will remember me,
Remember me for Centuries.”
(Fall Out Boy – “Centuries”)
Photos: World Dairy Expo