If you go

What: Venus Bake Sale

When: Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

Where: Jet’s Espressoria, 2116 Pearl St.


It’s getting hot in University of Colorado doctorate student Molly Podolefsky’s kitchen this weekend.

But it’s not the summer weather. It’s her oven that’s turning her home into a furnace.

Podolefsky hopes to turn around 160 peaches, nearly 80 apples and about 18 hours of baking into a $1,200 donation for the Greenhouse Scholars program — which helps first-generation and underprivileged Colorado students pay for college.

Greenhouse Scholars gets much support from Venus de Miles — Colorado’s only annual all-women’s road bike ride — and since Podolefsky has been competing in the race for years, she decided to use her pie passion, for the second year in a row, to raise money for the nonprofit.

“I’ll have 40 pies finished by Saturday morning,” Podolefsky said. “I’ll be in my tennis shoes and my most comfy pair of pajamas all day.”

The pies will be sold Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Jet’s Espressoria on Pearl Street.

“I’ve been raising money for the organization for years, but I wanted to find a way to connect with the other donors,” Podolefsky said. “And no one can resist a good pie.”

In 2009, Podolefsky baked 25 pies and raised $600. She’s said she’s hoping to double both her product and proceeds this year with a $25 donation per pie.

“I have been baking pies with my mother since I was very young,” Podolefsky said, who bakes all pies from her grandmother’s homemade recipes. “It’s an art form and a creative release for me and something unique I could contribute.”

With a little help from her husband, Podolefsky said she’s confident it will be a successful — albeit grueling — weekend in the kitchen.

“I did it last time with a broken foot and crutches,” Podolefsky said. “So, no matter what happens it will be easier this year.”

Over the past few weeks, Podolefsky has made at least 10 practice pies in preparation for the bake sale, giving them away to unsuspecting neighbors, coffee shops, coworkers and friends.

The strawberry rhubarb is the trickiest, she said, but blueberry peach, cherry, apple, chocolate cream and banana coconut cream have been huge hits in the past.

Yuri Shane, a program associate for Greenhouse Scholars, has already pre-ordered two pies — a peach and a chocolate cream.

“It was perfect timing because I’m actually having a cookout at my house on Sunday and I’m not great at deserts,” Shane said.

Shane said she’s hopeful that Podolefsky’s passion for the nonprofit will inspire other volunteers.

“It’s not always about writing a check,” Shane said. “Molly is really putting herself into this fundraiser. She found her own way to contribute.”

It was only four years ago when Venus De Miles director Teresa Robbins turned her love of biking into the first women’s only bike race. Last year, the race raised around $100,000 for Greenhouse Scholars.

“It started out as an individual’s idea and effort, just like the bake sale,” Shane said. “It’s thrilling to see it happen from one person’s passion and commitment.”

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