Enjoy a delicious Surry County tradition that’s part-cobbler, part-pie, and all North Carolina. Join us in Mount Airy to sample the sumptuous “Sonker,” an authentic sweet Southern delicacy that’s brought visitors down the exclusive Sonker Trail for dessert over the decades and across generations.
Mount Airy Visitors Center’s Jessica Johnson on the origins of Sonker
Everybody had access to flour, butter, milk from a cow, and everybody had a fruit tree or a fruit orchard nearby.
Surry County is probably best known for Andy Griffith and Mayberry. But folks in Mount Airy are hoping it will soon be known for something else — sonker. so what exactly is sonker?
“Sonker is Surry County’s version of a deep-dish pie,” says Jessica Johnson of the Mount Airy Visitors Center. “It’s made with in-season fruit or fruit that has been canned or frozen, and it is something that we find on every church — at every church supper and on every grandma’s table. It actually started really in the pioneer days as a way to easily make a quick dessert.”
“Everybody had access to flour, butter, milk from a cow, and everybody had a fruit tree or a fruit orchard nearby. So it started out as just an easy way to make a nice treat for your family,” she adds.
That simple dessert has turned into a much bigger sensation, even leading to a market for pottery specifically designed for making sonker, such as that made by mount airy’s mad duck pottery.
All of the enthusiasm over the dish sparked the idea for developing the Surry Sonker trail. The unique part of the Surry Sonker trail is that every stop serves sonker that’s a bit different from the others.
Miss Angel’s Heavenly Pies in Mount Airy has its own special version. “We decided to add a little bit of a twist and call it bonkers for zonkers and add a little touch of moonshine to it,” says owner, Angela Shur.
While the styles of sonker may be different depending on where you visit, each location on the Surry Sonker Trail is in agreement that this is a great attraction for Surry County and they hope the experience creates memories and leaves visitors with a taste of Surry County history.
Angela Shur agrees.
“I think they’ll start seeing a lot of the heritage that — and the love that people put in their product. A lot of love, whether it’s my fruit that I put the love in growing, but a lot of people love, you know, putting their heart into what they do, and I think it should have recognition for it.”