Frances Davis could make fried apple pies in her sleep.

She's been cooking since she was seven years old at her mother's side, preparing food for a dozen family members on the Pittsylvania County tobacco farm where she grew up.

"She would get some kind of crate and I would have to get up on the crate to be able to wash dishes and try to help her cook," Davis told WDBJ7. "And by age 12, I had total control of the kitchen. I was preparing three full course meals every day."

Today, Davis can cook anything. Her pantry is stocked with the vegetables, fruits and other foods she has preserved herself. But she is known for her biscuits, hoecakes and fried apple pies.

"Some people are interested, wow, she said. "To me it's just everyday living."

That's the way Roddy Moore see it as well. The Director of the Blue Ridge Institute at Ferrum College says the humble fried apple pie has deep roots in the region.

"And so it's been here a long time," Moore said, "and it seems to be with cooks like Frances still healthy within our community."

Davis is a foster parent, and a minister, but she also continues to cook, enjoying the reaction when someone tries one of her fried apple pies for the first time.

"When they see the size of the pies, wow, man that looks great," she said. "And when they bite into it, then they wave their hands, thank you, so very happy, very happy customers."