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Stories from the valley

Pie in the Sky

Contributed by Jennifer Harrison

Blink and you’ll miss it, but chances are, your taste buds won’t.  Ikeda’s, perched on Highway 80 in Auburn, is a Sacramento Valley hotspot and one that entices many a traveler. The lure? Pie.  

counter full of individual pie slices

Pies by the Numbers

4,000 pies roll out of Ikeda’s the day before Thanksgiving and pie fervor intensifies through the Christmas holiday. “Our ten ovens, which can bake twenty pies at a time, are in constant use,” explained Glen Ikeda, whose parents, Sam and Sally, started this place over fifty years ago. What began as a simple roadside fruit stand now includes a specialty market, burger joint, and bakery. It’s an iconic rest stop in the trek between the Sacramento Valley and the Tahoe and Reno region.    

“Friday through Sunday 70% of our business comes from travelers,” detailed Ikeda.  

boxed pies

Pies by Popularity

Dutch Apple is the best seller all year long, but peach cobbler, especially in the summertime, is a close second. Ariana Henderson, of Davis (a place that coincidentally sports another Ikeda’s), claims another pie altogether needs recognition.  

“Marionberry pie is my favorite! The crust is so flakey and buttery!”

Henderson is in good company. Rumor has it that Oprah Winfrey is an Ikeda’s marionberry pie fan. Fact check: yep, she, or at least editors for her magazine listed this sweet treat a must-have. They also mentioned Ikeda’s chicken pot pie, a mini pie, sold frozen, to pop in the oven at home.   

“We sell about 500-600 of these a day,” said Ikeda.  

fresh baked pie

Pies by the Source

Farm to Fork was Ikeda’s motto long before the catchphrase.  The family’s 40-acre ranch sits about a mile from the store and it’s that fruit, picked at peak ripeness, that is the foundation of their legendary desserts. No wonder they taste so good!