For years I’ve driven past the Rowley’s Red Barn on I-15 near Santaquin and thought about stopping in. But, we’re usually in a hurry to get to Southern Utah or California, or feeling too tired to stop on the way home.
So when I found myself in Utah County last week with a bit of free time, I decided to check it out. It’s just off of the southbound exit 242 on the Summit Ridge Parkway.
Since there’s a tie-in with the Payson Fruit Growers and Mountainland Apples, I hoped to find some local produce at the tail-end of this seasons’ harvest. It was like stepping into an old-fashioned general store, with a bakery/ice cream parlor too.
There are lots of locally made food products such as apple cider (with free samples to sip), dried tart cherries and cherry juice, apple and cherry syrup, Real Salt, Ridgeline Beef and Heber Valley artisan cheese. But there are also a lot of cheeses and butter shipped in from Ohio, maple syrup from Pennsylvania, and vanilla from Mexico So if you’re looking solely for Utah products, you’ll need to check the labels. A lot of the locally made products have the Country Spoon brand name.
It seems there’s a little bit of everything — large cans of food storage items co-exist with take-and-bake frozen pies, whole grains and wheat grinders, apple peeling machines, and gourmet popcorn kernels.
There are old-timey toys such as Raggedy Ann dolls, flavored popcorn, and hard candy that can be weighed on an old-fashioned scale.
And yes, I did find a some apples in a back-room cold storage area. I imagine that during the summer months, that refrigerated area is filled with cherries and peaches, too. At least, I hope to find out next summer.
One thing I noticed: the check-out lines can get long (yes, even on a Thursday morning). There was one register that the clerk said was for cash-only. So I immediately changed my mind about using a credit card, pulled out some cash from my wallet and was checked out pretty quickly after that.
I bought a bag of Fuji apples, some flavorful dried tart cherries, and some Heber Valley artisan cheese — a lovely lemon sage cheddar. I resisted the urge to buy more…I told myself, there’s always next time.
Now that I know what’s here, I’m going to make it one of our traditional road trip stops.