The Gifford Homestead is a historical farmhouse that is just past the welcome center of Capitol Reef National Park. This landmark is a pie shop and living museum that describes the pioneer history of the Mormons who settled this land. Settlers planted fruit trees and named the town “Fruita” for them. Now these groves are part of a National Park, so the town hosts no permanent residents. The trees remain, and the historic Homestead celebrates their existence by serving a wide variety of fruit pies.
The orchards are small and their yield is inconsistent, so fruit for the pies comes from elsewhere, but it’s all from Utah trees. The pies are fresh and show stellar baking technique. They come in small sizes, but in a deep tin. We estimate that each is two slices worth, perfect for sharing.
Given that these pies exist to celebrate the park’s fruit trees, they are more about great piles of fruit than crust. No gooey filling here. Cooked only enough to soften, juicy slices of peach or barely poached apple remain whole as you fork them up. The fruit-forward style makes them right as breakfast bites on the scenic drive through Capitol Reef.
Coffee, hand-made ice cream, some pastries, sourdough bread, and a selection of preserves and jarred souvenirs also are available.
The Homestead includes a barn with farm animals and a large field full of picnic tables to enjoy a pie break. The scenery around the picnic area is National-Park gorgeous. When the orchards are ripe, visitors are welcome to pick fruit “u-pick style” and pay for it by the pound.
The Gifford Homestead is right before the pay station for the park, so those who prefer pie to physical exertion can eat a personal pie as a half-baked journey to the great outdoors, and then turn around. We’d recommend exploring the park and saving pie as a reward for spending the day hiking. Make sure to get the pie first though. The pies do sell out by later in the day.
Weather permitted, the Homestead begins serving pie each year on March 14th (Pi Day).