Thursday, February 20, 2014

Back in Time Pecan Pie

Pecan Pie
Back in Time Pie Shoppe, $4

Starting in 1864, Yuma's Quartermaster Depot played a vital role in the operation of US Army posts throughout the southwest.  Located on a bluff over the river, the Depot's warehouses were both secure and accessible, an ideal place to store necessities such as clothing, food, and ammunition; the goods were delivered by river, then distributed as needed via mule-drawn wagons.  With the arrival of the Southern Pacific Railroad in the late 1870s, the Depot had outlived its original use, but it continued to to house tenants such as the Signal Corps, Weather Bureau, and Customs Service, until eventually becoming a state park. 

With the state facing severe budget cutbacks in 2009, the city took over the operation of the Depot's Heritage Area, five original buildings housing exhibits on everything from military insignia to irrigation.  Searching for ways to simultaneously attract new visitors and enhance those visitors' experience of the park, someone came up with a genius idea:  pie. 

Since late 2012, the Back in Time Pie Shoppe has offered a wide variety of pies, baked on site, sold from glass stands on a crowded counter, and served on doily-covered tables by women in long skirts and aprons.  You can borrow your favorite teacup from an assortment on the wall, or find a keeper among the many antiques and trinkets for sale in the tearoom and adjacent shop.  You can hold a tea party, play "teago" (the Shoppe's version of bingo), and pick up a loyalty card that allows you to come in for pie without having to pay for park admission. 

Sure, it's a little on the kitsch side, but the Shoppe offers a sensory experience straight out of the Depot's glory days, when pie was an everyday food, often made with and ingredients at hand (like the local nuts in the pecan pie above)--and sometimes served by charming waitresses like those found at 19th century Harvey House restaurants at rail stations throughout the southwest. 

Like attractions in many tourist towns, the Back in Time Pie Shoppe is closed during the off-season--in this case, summer. 

Yuma Quartermaster Depot
Corral Building
Yuma AZ 
928 / 323-2034

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