Pea Pod Pierogie Company sells homemade Polish desserts, which come in several traditional flavors and may also be customized according to customers’ preference.
WINTER GARDEN – Fans of Polish food can now get their fix at Pea Pod Pierogie Company in Winter Garden’s Plant Street Market.
The family-owned-and-operated business specializes in making pierogi – also known as Polish dumplings – and held its soft opening July 25. Pierogi is traditionally made by wrapping unleavened dough around a savory or sweet filling and cooked in boiling water.
Michelle Spievak, the owner, cooks the pierogi from scratch — a skill she learned growing up, she said.
“My grandparents from both sides came from Poland, and I grew up doing this, especially during Christmas and holidays,” she said.
Spievak, who comes from New Jersey, said making pierogi was simply a hobby for her before. But it eventually became an extra source of income when she noticed how popular her pierogi were in her local community.
“You can’t make small batches of these, so back in New Jersey, I’d make a batch for Christmas, but I would end up with so many in my freezer,” Spievak said. “So I’d offer some to my friends, and they were like, ‘Let us give you money for it.’…So one day I posted them for sale on a Facebook page used by the locals in the town I lived in, and people went nuts.”
Her hobby soon became a booming business. After relocating to Ocoee four years ago, Spievak noticed a lack of options for Polish cuisine.
“I wondered how it would work out if I started selling some (pierogi),” she said. “So I just popped it in a local community board and another Facebook page for locals down here. I got a decent response. People would meet me at Publix or near my house to pick them up.”
In February 2017, a woman involved with the Summerport Farmers Market asked Spievak if she’d like to join their food truck night. Spievak agreed and sold out on the first night. Shortly after, she joined the local farmer markets in Windermere and Clermont.
Later, she started selling them at the Winter Garden Farmers Market, the Brownwood Paddock Square Farmers Market in Sumter County and the Mount Dora Village Market in Lake County. She also sells frozen pierogi packages at the Winter Garden Collective.
The response she received at each venue encouraged her to leave her job as a paralegal to share the comfort food from her youth with the larger community, she said.
“And so our hobby just turned into a business, but I never expected this, not at all,” said
Spievak, who cooks the pierogi with the help of her husband, Jon. “But I like it here because people can actually see me make them. A lot of people at the markets didn’t believe I make these by hand. But here’s my scoop and my fork.”
Spievak currently offers about 20 different flavors of pierogi — the most popular of which is the classic ruskie and is made with russet potato and cheese. Spievak also plans to expand the menu and hold a grand opening in the coming weeks.