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Stories from the valley

Sweet Spot

Contributed by Jennifer Harrison

Perched along highway 99, south of Yuba City, stands Stephens Farmhouse.

From its red and green exterior, to its delectable desserts (pies, fruitcakes you actually want to eat, homemade cookies and candies) to its local agricultural offerings (persimmons and walnuts abound right now) this Sacramento Valley sweet spot is a living, breathing holiday haven.  

Homegrown and handmade

“Every pie is hand rolled, we have no machines mixing the dough,” explained Chérie Stephens, who opened the place 18 years ago.

Speaking of rolling, thousands of pies roll out of here during the holiday season, 4,000 alone during the week of Thanksgiving.   Pumpkin pie is the quintessential favorite, but as November slides into December, there’s a new star in town, the sugar cookie. Stephens claims it’s the secret recipe that makes customers clamor for more. Perhaps it’s the old-fashioned designs. “I always give Santa crazy eyes,” she laughs.  

Let’s talk fruitcake.  Please keep reading. Uncle Morris’ fruitcake combines local fruit with a cherished recipe from an even more cherished family member.  This uncle served in the Navy in World War II as Chief over the cooks in the Pacific fleet and then subsequently owned a bakery. Fruitcake was his specialty, and he gave one to friends and family every holiday season.  Each fruitcake is adorned with this story.  

Community Spirit

“It’s really about the people,” insists Stephens.  

People, being the local community, who support this business and visitors, who discovered Stephens Farmhouse trekking up the highway on their way to a destination.  Employees, too, are crucial.  

“I couldn’t do this alone,” she says.  Case in point, when you are peeling 1,200 lbs. of apples, as the team recently did, you need many abled hands. 

It’s worth a drive to this Sacramento Valley gem, but if you’re not Northern California local, check out their Facebook page, where Stephens, a history major, often tells a sweet story to accompany her shop’s sweet treats.