Handmade fruit pies star at Machado Orchards in Bowman

A slice of hot peach pie at Machado Orchards.
A slice of hot peach pie at Machado Orchards.

On Saturday, we played tourists around nearby Auburn and came across the family-owned Machado Orchards, a few minutes outside of that historic town.

The 33-acre fruit orchard was founded by Azore Island immigrants Joe and Constance Machado, who bought it in 1926 when it was a much smaller pear and plum orchard. Now their descendants run the show.

We found a ton (perhaps literally) of fresh local produce, including peaches, nectarines, plums and apples, and the biggest red onions we’ve encountered, along with dried fruits, nuts, local honey and more.

The star was the from-scratch made-on-site fruit pies — peach, nectarine, blueberry, raspberry, boysenberry, marionberry, mixed berry and others ($16 and $17).

“We usually sell about 200 pies a day, and maybe 300 a day on weekends,” said co-owner Shawnie Machado, with husband Gary and mother-in-law Barbara. “In the fall we’ll have apple, pear, plum and pumpkin pies.”

We four guys bought slices of hot-from-the-oven peach pie (a la mode is an option) and wolfed them down, with many grunts of appreciation. We bought whole pies to take with us, for further research.

To get to Machado’s from Sacramento, continue on eastbound Highway 80 past Auburn to the Bowman exit (No. 122). At the end of the exit, turn left under the freeway. Go to the stop sign and turn right. Look for the windmill and the balloon on the left. It’s at 100 Apple Lane on the Bowman Frontage Road, 530-823-1393.

Orchard tours are offered in September. The annual apple festival will be Oct. 17.

Allen Pierleoni: 916-321-1128, @apierleonisacbe