Biz Beat

New Modesto boxed lunch company is all about the fresh-baked bread, and free delivery

Say boxed lunch and it conjures up images of school days with lovingly wrapped sandwiches and an apple thrown in to keep the doctor away.

At Modesto’s new Apple Spice boxed lunch and catering company, you’ll get a sandwich and more packed into a neat box. And while they may not wrap it just like your parents did, the father-and-sons team behind the new enterprise want to offer healthy, delicious food fast to your office.

Apple Spice is the first Northern California location for the Salt Lake City-based chain. Started in 1988, it now has locations in more than 20 states across the country. The Modesto site is owned and operated by Turlock resident Wayne Turnbow and run with his sons Zachary and Brian.

The small crew of about six employees works Monday to Friday preparing lunch orders and delivering catering across the greater Modesto area, primarily to corporate and business clients. Opened about a month ago, Apple Spice made its public debut at the annual Edible Extravaganza earlier this month. Several co-workers and I tried the food then and were most impressed by the soft, flavorful bread — and for good reason.

Apple Spice’s bread is baked fresh daily from scratch with no preservatives. Its sandwiches all come on slices of either honey wheat, 13-grain or sourdough. Brian Turnbow, the eldest son, gets up at 5 a.m. each morning to bake the bread. And, if you just can’t get enough, the Modesto site sells it by the loaf either fresh ($3.99) or day-old ($2) — though only bread made that day is used for the sandwiches.

Fresh baked bread cools on racks Thursday September 19, 2019 at Apple Spice in Modesto, Calif. The new boxed lunch catering / delivery service has been open since last month. Joan Barnett Lee

That bread is used in more than two dozen varieties of sandwiches, from traditional clubs and BLTs to strawberry grilled chicken, granny apple turkey, albacore tuna, egg salad and other varieties. They also offer more than a dozen entree-sized salads, soups, wraps and a variety of sweet treats.

The boxed lunch side of the business offers free same-day delivery to orders of five or more, making it ideal for a lunch meeting or if some co-workers all want to order from the same spot. They begin taking orders at 8 a.m. and close at 2 p.m. Zachary Turnbow said most same-day orders are delivered within an hour, though it’s better to get orders in early if possible to avoid the lunch-time rush.

The boxed lunches come in classic (sandwich, pickle, cookie, mint and choice of sides for $10.99) to executive level (sandwich, chips, carrot chips, pickle, cheesecake, mint and choice of sides for $13.99). Other sides include pasta salad, potato salad, fresh fruit or a frogeye salad (a sweet, custard-based pasta and fruit salad that is popular in Utah).

Sandwiches are pictured Thursday September 19, 2019 at Apple Spice in Modesto, Calif. The new boxed lunch catering / delivery service has been open since last month. Joan Barnett Lee

On the catering side, orders must be made at least 24 hours in advance and serve a minimum of 15 people. You can choose from warm offerings like pot roast, roasted chicken, baked ziti and more, ranging from $9.99 to $12.49 per person or build-your-own spreads that include salad bars, taco bars and baked potato bars. The catering side also offers boxed breakfast (minimum order is dropped to five people), other breakfast options and sandwich platters. Delivery, as with the boxed lunches, is free.

“The concept is simple, fresh, healthy and delicious served on time,” said Zachary Turnbow, who serves as relationship manager. “(In Modesto) we’re a family affair and thought this is something this area could really use.”

Now, if you absolutely love the food but don’t have a large enough order for free delivery you can walk in to its headquarters, though calling in your order in advance is strongly encouraged. The north Modesto site, just west of Costco, was converted from a former dance studio. It now consists of a small office and large commercial kitchen where all the food is prepared, with no eat-in area for the public.

Father and sons from left to right- Wayne, Zachary and Brian Turnbow are pictured Thursday September 19, 2019 at Apple Spice in Modesto, Calif. The new boxed lunch catering / delivery service has been open since last month. Joan Barnett Lee

And, well, about that name — while nothing in the company’s repertoire is officially “apple spice”-flavored, it reflects its homey origins leasing space from a well-known baker in Salt Lake City.

Apple Spice, at 4807 Greenleaf Court, Suite C, is open 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday to Friday. For more information call 209-846-9578 or visit

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Marijke Rowland writes about new business, restaurant and retail developments. She has been with The Modesto Bee since 1997 covering a variety of topics including arts and entertainment. Her Business Beat column runs midweek and Sundays. And it’s pronounced Mar-eye-ke.
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