The following is a copy of an article that appeared in the Entertainment / Food Finds section of the February 26, 2004 edition of the San Diego Union-Tribune.
By Valerie Lemki
50,000 pounds, and counting
A fudge shop in Borrego Springs? With May-to-October temperatures in the triple digits, the desert town 90 miles from San Diego seems an unlikely spot to boast a thriving business based on this popular confection.
But the Olde Homestead Fudge Co., also known locally as the Fudge Factory, does indeed thrive.
Proprietors Lee and Andi Bosworth, full-time Borrego residents for two decades, estimate they have made nearly 50,000 pounds of fudge since they started the business six years ago. They sell out of their shop and online; in earlier days they set up at many local farmers markets.
Their philosophy: Make an excellent product and they will come. The Bosworths maintain that making good fudge involves quality ingredients – butter, cream, sugar, flavorings, nuts – plus special equipment and a surprising cooling technique.
A huge stainless kettle with a steel-jacketed water compartment that thermostatically controls the heat of the cooking fudge “is the heart of the process,” said Lee. And avoiding the “marble-slab myth” assures the smooth, creamy texture inherent in the best product.
Pouring hot fudge onto a marble slab – often demonstrated in shop windows – cools the candy too fast, creating crystallization and a grainy texture, Lee said. “Our fudge is cooled on special racks for 24 hours, and then cut.”
Attention to detail doesn’t stop there. A card in each box advises that storing at room temperature in an airtight container will keep the confection fresh for five to six weeks – although it’s never around that long.
Twenty-four varieties are available, but chocolate, chocolate with walnuts, peanut butter chocolate and rocky road are consistent favorites. Seasonal specialties include pumpkin pie fudge in the fall, egg nog at New Year’s and key lime in the summer.
During a recent town promotion, the Bosworths whomped up an exotic offering that’s still a red-hot favorite, jalapeno fudge. “Taste it, and about 45 seconds in, you say, ‘Oh, Yeah!'” said Lee.
While quarter-pound wedges of fudge may be purchased in the shop, if you buy a pound, you receive an extra half-pound free. Customers online at www.bighornfudge.com also receive the discount with a minimum order of 1 1/2 pounds shipped to a single address.
“We ship throughout the U.S., and our fudge has been taken to almost every country in the world.” Lee said. “People visiting Borrego want a souvenir of the desert or something to send back home.”
The Bosworths’ current shop features citrus-blossom honey from nearby groves, Medjool dates from Indio and other desert-oriented items. Local and seasonal residents come in for coffee and gourmet sweet rolls in the morning, and throughout the day enjoy malts, shakes floats and sundaes made with Blue Bunny Ice Cream, a Midwest favorite since 1913.
But the shop’s biggest draw is that all-American favorite, fudge. Aficionados will follow the object of their desire to a metropolis or a little desert town.
A man came in recently and announced, “I’ve come all the way from San Diego to buy your fudge – on a bicycle.”
“That was our highest compliment,” Lee said.
The Olde Homestead Fudge Co., is located at 590 Palm Canyon Drive, Borrego Springs, CA (760) 767-7762.
Valerie Lemki is a San Diego writer.
Ed. Note: Due to the age of this article, it may contain outdated information. Please contact us if you have any questions about her comments. Olde Homestead Fudge Co.’s retail operation in Borrego Springs is closed from June through September. Customers may still order fudge online during those months.
Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him. Psalm 34:8
590 Palm Canyon Drive, Suite 202-1945,
Borrego Springs, CA 92004-1945