METHUEN — To dish out $2.99 on a palm-sized meat pie from Thwaites Market is to support a 100-year family business.
The Railroad Street storefront is stocked as it has been for a century. There are cases of sausages, stacks of handmade English meat pies on trays, and a refrigerated chest of homemade sides including pickled beets and onions, four-bean salad, coleslaw and macaroni.
The father-daughter duo that runs Thwaites today is evolving the family tradition.
Abbey Hoffman, 34, and her dad, Ken Greenwood, 69, just put finishing touches on a food truck to be seen soon in parking lots across the Merrimack Valley.
Hoffman, the fifth generation at the helm, is all in.
She lives in an apartment above the storefront with her husband and two toddler girls. And though she won't share information about exactly how many meat pies go out the market door each week, it's enough to fund her idea of bringing Thwaites on the road.
"Every time I go out to the truck for something (parked adjacent to the market), people seem to see me and they come up ready to order," she said. "They're excited. We're hopeful about how this is going to go."
The truck made its debut at Crescent Yacht Club in Haverhill last week, following requests from management for an on-site Thwaites visit before the food truck even existed. Reservations have already been made by organizations and businesses in North Andover.
Locals looking to grab a bite can find the truck open for business at the upcoming Feast of Three Saints in Lawrence over Labor Day weekend, as well as Pelham Old Home Day in mid-September.
Permitting requirements for other cities and towns are almost complete, Hoffman said. Then, they'll be taking more appointments and location requests.
There's only room for two other employees to join Hoffman in the truck at any given time, but the cooking crew back at Thwaites Market is crucial for success. Among them is Hoffman's 89-year-old grandmother, Barbara Greenwood.
She and the others rely on recipes brought from England by Hoffman's great-great-grandmother.
Ingredients and measurements are spelled out on yellowed pieces of paper hung by clothes pins in the kitchen. Heavy pieces of steel machinery cut identical slabs of dough and press them perfectly into small tin dishes, also from England.
The insides of each pie are where Hoffman and generations before her have left their marks.
The menu today includes 30 flavors of individual pies and 12 varieties of larger, family-style pies. Flavors range from the English classics to smoky, spicy, peppery and hearty tastes.
Firm with her handshakes and her family pride, the matriarch of the kitchen Barbara Greenwood can't pick a favorite type.
She's in the kitchen from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. during the week, breaking only at lunchtime, when she goes home and enjoys at least one frozen chocolate fudgicle treat. Lately, she's been planing her upcoming 90th birthday party.
"We'll have meat pies and cake and celebrate all of this," she said looking around the Thwaites Market kitchen.
"That's one thing our family has learned," she said. "To stick together. I am so proud of how everything is turning out."