Stephens Farmhouse is one popular place! The Yuba City produce and specialty store often cranks out 3,000 pies a week come holiday time and baseball legend Dusty Baker has been known to shop at the quaint shop along the Garden Highway.
“He’s a regular. Last time he came in he left with twelve pies!” exclaimed Cherie Stephens, the energetic co-owner, along with her husband Jeff, of Stephens Farmhouse.
I stopped by recently, left with three pies myself, and got the scoop on what makes this Sacramento Valley shop a sweet success.
Why do you choose to live and work in the Sacramento Valley?
I love the diversity here. You have the Sacramento River, the mountains, and different seasons. I love having four seasons! I grew up in Yuba City and around agriculture. I went to UC Davis, and returned to Yuba City to teach high school here. I married into an agriculture family who grow peaches, prunes, melons and walnuts.
How did Stephens Farmhouse materialize?
My husband’s family had a farm stand since the 1960s, where they sold the fruit they grew, mostly their melons. After I had children I left teaching and we eventually took over the farm stand in 2002. The idea has evolved quite a bit. We still sell fresh produce, but it was the abundance of fresh, ripe fruit that led me to use that fruit for pies. Eventually we created a shop that sells baked goods and other items, such as jams and pickled products.
Why is this place so popular?
We have a very loyal local following. We are primarily known for our baked goods and pies. Everything is made from scratch and with locally grown fruit. If we don’t grow it, we source fruit from local growers.
What makes a good pie?
The crust. We are known to have good, flakey crusts. You have to have the right balance of what is needed for a flakey curst. Fruit matters too. Using fresh, ripe fruit right from this area is key.
Stephens Farmhouse jam is sold in Tahoe and UCD students are soon to get your brownies? It seems you are reaching far beyond Sutter County?
Our jams are sold in stores in Yosemite too! The collaboration with UC Davis has been in the works, as their food service program is interested in providing farm to fork products for their community. A UCD employee knew about our business, liked our product and we are now providing thousands of brownies to UCD students as a sort of goodbye treat for the start of summer.
What makes you love your job?
I like the creativity and public interaction. Plus, this doesn’t even feel like work!
I have to ask…what is your favorite pie?
I’ve been asked this a lot. I always say the same thing. My favorite pie is the one in my mouth!