Sausage from Santa

Megan Bonjour

Photo By Alexis Harmon

Three years ago, 20-year-old Chico resident Megan Bonjour responded to a classified ad for a position at the seasonal Hickory Farms kiosk in the Chico Mall. Over the holidays, Bonjour, who also clerks full-time for a local daily paper, has been spending 20 hours a week surrounded by cheese balls and extra-large sausages ever since. The things we do for extra Christmas money.

I had to hike to get here. Where do you park in this madness?

Out in the middle of nowhere. I usually park out by Tri-Counties, but way over in the KFC area. Out there. By the time I get out of here the whole parking lot is completely clear.

What’s your favorite Hickory Farms product?

Cheese. The Tangy Ranch Cheese Ball. If you like ranch, you’ll like it. It’s a different flavor than anything else. It’s kinda creamy. It’s good with crackers.

What’s your most popular item?

The Beef Stick, because it’s been around for a while. It’s the original.

Is that a Beef Stick over there? How big is it?

The Beef Sticks are like summer sausage. It has a little bit of a smoky flavor to it. I serve them with cheese and crackers. They’re one pound. Or we have a three-pounder. We sell more of the little ones, but we have been selling a lot of the big ones.

Wow. That’s a lot of sausage. What’s the most expensive item at Hickory Farms?

There’s a gift basket for $99.99. There’s everywhere from a whole Beef Stick, to different cheeses, to crackers, to a little bit of our candy. A little bit of everything.

What do you do with this stuff after Christmas is over?

The day after Christmas we put everything on sale. For a lot of the stock, we usually get sold out, and what we don’t sell goes back to the warehouse.

Are there any perks to working here?

We get free samples and 30 percent.

Does that mean all of your relatives are getting Beef Sticks for Christmas?

I did that at first, but not so much this year I guess. I haven’t thought about [what to get them] yet. I know I need to, it’s two weeks away.

Why is Hickory Farms such a tradition?

It’s seasonal. It only comes around the holidays, so everybody is used to having it right around Christmas time.

Yeah. It just doesn’t seem like Christmas without a three-pound sausage.