OTTAWA COUNTY, Ohio (WTVG) - Over 90,000 birders have come to northwest Ohio this year for "The Biggest Week in American Birding", and an unassuming 1900s schoolhouse between Toledo and Port Clinton plays a key role.
Blackberry Corners is well known for their pizza, perch and pies, but there's one baked good that many consider an achievement to earn.
"Lifer pie" isn't a particular flavor or filling, but is rather a celebration for those who have seen a rare bird, or have just seen one for the first time in their life. The tradition started years back, and has continued through restaurant owner Brenda Lowe.
"I usually get up about 4 in the morning, and I will make my crust and get my fillings prepared," Lowe says. "I usually make one or two of each pie, but this week of Birding Week, I usually plan on making 4 or 5 of each variety."
All those varieties add up to at least 200 homemade pies during the event, and they sell fast. (Pro tip from the locals: Grab your pie out of the cooler as soon as you walk in, so you aren't left without your favorite.)
Peanut butter and Oreo are among the staple pies, but Lowe says the big sellers this week are pretty well anything with berries in it.
"Everything from strawberry to blueberry to blackberry, to apple -- anything fruit, you can never go wrong."
Beside the boost in sales, Lowe says the most rewarding part is seeing the excited faces, old and new, who "flock on over" to Blackberry Corners.
"I love to hear about their life, and their families," says Lowe, "and it just makes this job all worthwhile."
"The Biggest Week in American Birding" runs through this Sunday, May 12th.