Delta Hand Pies, which launched in April 2020, is a COVID pivot that came from necessity and a lot of creative thinking. Jeremy, a self-proclaimed “hard core foodie,” and Duane, a “techie,” had the skills and the will. And so, it began.
Jeremy White, an executive chef, ran a catering business pre-COVID. He had a commercial kitchen at hand and three employees he needed to keep employed. Duane Wilson, a software engineer with his mom’s recipes and a love of pies, convinced Jeremy to bring the concept of Delta Hand Pies to life. So, the daring duo, friends for many years, dove into quality assurance, and many pie tastings later produced their perfect recipes with which to launch the business. They went into it with the goal of sourcing from local farmers — a win-win. They get the freshest ingredients while also supporting their local community.
So, what is a Delta hand pie? It is a small pie, like an empanada or calzone, that fits in your hand. A pie is a serving or two, depending on the size of your appetite — I say one pie per person! What’s inside the pie depends on what is both seasonal and locally available.
It is summertime, so corn is abundantly available! Hence, they have a corn pie, sourced from Vierra Farms in West Sacramento. Named Elote, their Mexican street corn pie comes in a vegan, gluten-free or standard version (most pies have these options.) To tempt your taste buds, a full list of ingredients is written with each pie description — some include roasted corn (of course), applewood bacon, Cotija cheese, and pasilla peppers. Yum!
Since it is pear season in the Sacramento region, the latest pie recipes include local Bartlett pears donated by Chan Family Farms and Green & Hemly in Courtland. Delta Hand Pies has incorporated pears not only based on local availability, but as a fundraiser dubbed “Pear Fest” to support the community affected by the cancellation of the annual Courtland Pear Fair. The Pear Fest fundraiser donates $2 per pear pie to the Pear Fair organization, a non-profit providing educational scholarships and support of the delta community. The pear pies will be available for about a month depending on the tree-ripened pear supply.
To get some pies for yourself, you simply order online; delivery is contact-less, free and offered every Thursday and Friday. At the time of this writing, the order deadline was Tuesdays. It’s easy peasy from the customer (aka pie eater) point of view. The delivery area extends from Roseville to Woodland and Davis, and south to Elk Grove and all the way to Placerville. Additionally, for serious pie eaters who reside outside the delivery area, the delivery crew will meet the customer at a prearranged location and time.
What’s in their future post-COVID? “I’d like to keep selling pies as much as possible,” White said, adding that he would like to eventually work more at an executive level so he can once again focus on his catering company.
Wilson says he would would like to expand the vegan and gluten-free options. Beyond that, he will be happy just to sell pies and “help with local food insecurities, one pie at a time.”