By Pixie Sulser
People are used to seeing little kiosks in the middle of shopping malls or along other heavily traveled footpaths, but a fudge selling kiosk in Santa Ysabel? A town that can be driven through in the blink of an eye — how would a kiosk, standing alone on the edge of a parking lot, grab travelers’ attention?
ll it takes is one stop out of curiosity and then a small taste of one of the 18 flavors of fudge handcrafted by owners Lee, Andi and Bonny Bosworth to realize the draw of the sweet oasis.
Although The Olde Homestead Fudge Company is based out of Borrego Springs, Lee and Andi often drove through Santa Ysabel and thought the little green building sharing the parking lot of the Santa Ysabel Post Office would make a great business location.
“We knew the intersection is a busy one,” said Lee. “Everyone going to the desert, the Santa Ysabel Casino or Julian drives through Santa Ysabel.”
So, in June of 2010, they opened the fudge kiosk for business Thursdays through Sundays.
What makes their fudge so special, according to the Bosworths, is the premium ingredients they use as well as the cooling process they follow. Their fudge is made with real cream and butter.
Usually fudge is poured onto a marble slab and is worked until it cools off. The confection forms a thick loaf, which is then cut into squares of fudge.
“What often happens,” explained Lee, “is that the candy crystallizes or has a grainy feel when you are eating it. To create a smooth, creamy product, we allow our fudge to cool for 18 to 24 hours after being poured before we ever touch it. That way there is absolutely no crystallization.”
The Bosworths have not always been candy makers. For most of their adult lives, they owned a campground business in New Hampshire.
When they retired, they moved to Borrego, but on a trip “back through memories of the Northeast,” they spent some time with friends in Maine who owned a gift shop that featured a huge fudge display. Lee and Andi spent the evening at their friends’ home where they saw that an area of the kitchen was set aside for making fudge.
“We were looking for something we could do from home,” said Lee, “And this looked like a great idea.”
The cottage industry in New England isn’t quite so bound by regulations as home-operated businesses are in California so, when Lee and Andi discovered they couldn’t make their fudge out of their own kitchen, they set up shop in the corner of a Mexican food restaurant owned by a friend in Borrego Springs.
At first, they only sold their product at the local Farmer’s Market.
“When friends first saw us with our fudge, they looked at us like they thought the sun had really gotten to us. Fudge in Borrego!” laughed Lee.
Selling at the local Farmer’s Market grew into traveling to similar venues along the coast, and eventually into a store in the middle of Borrego Springs where they also sell espresso and ice cream.
Thirteen years after starting a “little retirement business,” The Olde Homestead Fudge Company has sold over 80,000 pounds of fudge.
“We have a wide variety of flavors, but the favorites are chocolate, chocolate with walnut, peanut butter chocolate and rocky road.”
They even have a jalapeño fudge, which was originally developed for a special Chamber of Commerce event in Borrego a couple of years ago. “Last holiday season, we sold 25 pounds of the jalapeño fudge.”
“What really put us on the map was the piece Larry Himmel did on us last year,” said Lee. “We get people all the time who say they’ve driven past us in Santa Ysabel, but weren’t too sure about stopping until they saw the television interview with Larry Himmel.”
A visit to the little fudge kiosk of Santa Ysabel can be a quick, tasty stop. However, those not in the area may also check out available flavors and place orders at www.fudgedirect.com.