Name: Tracie Derwin
Farm: Creekside Apple Ranch
Location: 1226 Alamo Pintado Road, Solvang, CA 93463
What They Grow: Known for fresh-baked pies, apple cider, and homemade bread, Creekwide offers a wide selection of sweet and savory treats. Featured items include apple bran muffins, cinnamon rolls, apple pies, fresh pasta (fusilli and linguine), herb foccaia bread, olive loaf, fresh sourdough, and a popular whole wheat bread.
Where to Buy: Farmers markets including Tuesday in downtown Santa Barbara, Wednesday in Solvang, Saturday in downtown Santa Barbara, and Sunday in Goleta.
In Season Now: It’s apple season at the orchard, from Fujis to pink ladies and Granny Smiths. In addition to fresh apples, the farm’s bakers specialize in seasonal pies, including their famous oatmeal crumb-top apple, apple-rhubarb, and their popular pumpkin pie. New this year is the farm’s apple cider vinegar, made slow “Orleans” style and aged in oak barrels (donated by local winemakers). The nutrient-rich vinegar is high in potassium and great on salads.
Their Story: Growing up on her parents’ apple orchard, Tracie Derwin has been in the farming community for over 25 years. Started in 1986, Creekside Apple Ranch (also known as the Solvang Pie Company) is a family affair. As a teenager, Derwin would help run the business, from picking apples to working alongside her mother in the kitchen. When her parents decided to retire, she took over the company and has loved every minute of it.
“When you live on the farm, you see the product from the beginning to the end,” said Derwin. “I have a part in every process. When that product goes into the hands of the customer, it’s extremely rewarding and exciting.”
While the company is known for seasonal pies, the fresh bread is a real market highlight. Growing its own wheat, the company grinds the wheat berries for the bread, enhancing its nutritional value. Made for each market, customers can always be guaranteed it will be fresh.
“Wheat is nutritionally at its peak within the first three weeks,” said Derwin. “You will not find many bakeries offering freshly ground wheat bread. We make ours fresh, each batch. It’s very unique and very tasty.”
Committed to sustainable farming, even the homemade pasta uses farm-fresh eggs, courtesy of the family chickens. And when the farm has spare apples or unsold cider, the apples are fermented to create apple cider vinegar, aged in barrels for eight months. Derwin’s commitment to quality products is evident by her success in the markets.
“It’s been great seeing the same people over the years,” said Derwin. “I have a lot of longtime customers, many since the beginning. You really get to know the regulars and your community working the markets.”