What is the Washington State Fair without Fisher Scones? What are Fisher Scones without the Washington State Fair? It’s quite the chicken-or-egg scenario. Since the early 1900s, fairgoers have lined up to purchase those buttery, flaky, jam-filled mounds of goodness.

Forty years ago, Mike Maher, CEO of Conifer Foods, the parent company of Fisher Original Fair Scones, sold those scones while he was a teenager working at what was then known as the Puyallup Fair. Even then, he was amazed that people would line up for a half-hour or more to buy a scone.

Today, Conifer Foods employs 500 people during the State Fair, and operates nearly two dozen concession stands that each sells a variety of different items, such as scones, ice cream, smoothies, pizza, and other food. Still, more than one-third of those stands solely sell Fisher Scones. 

CEO Mike Maher
Courtesy Conifer Foods

Mike Maher: The State Fair is really the birthplace of the Fisher Scone, which has become the iconic and signature item at the State Fair. It’s a symbiotic relationship. The State Fair brings the people, and the people and the State Fair like what we serve. I don’t really want to change the tradition too much.

The State Fair revenue amounts to about 10 percent of our overall revenue. It’s certainly an important part of our business. A lot of the volume is really driven by that uniqueness of the product, locally.

The process that we use (to make scones) today is very similar to the process going back even 50 years. It’s primarily a handmade product. We’ve added some equipment, such as rounders and ovens. But we use real butter, really clean raspberry jam, and it’s kind of a wholesome product. 

We get questions sometimes about the size of the scones, and sometimes peoples’ complaints are real. People are hand-cutting the dough into fours on a table. If they don’t hit the right center, you can get three big scones and one small one. It’s not an exact science. 

I think fall is interesting for our product because Washington is a great wheat-growing state, a big berry-growing state, and a big dairy state. We bring those three items together during that harvest time. We don’t really market that or talk about that, but I think there is an underlying historic perspective of the fall harvest and getting what’s great from the crops. The scone delivers all those different items that are great about agriculture
in Washington.