Archive for the 'Columbia River Gorge' Category
One of my favorite times of the year is nearly here… the flowering trees growing at the lower elevation along the Columbia River have already begun blooming, and the trees up the valley where our facility is located are about to burst into bloom. We’re talking acres upon acres upon acres of white and pink blossoms from the valley’s pear, apple, cherry, and peach trees. Absolutely stunning. With the forecast for phenomenal weather this weekend (77 degrees and sunny!), those remaining buds will pop open at just the right time.
Naturally we celebrate this gorgeous time of year with the Hood River Valley Blossom Festival, taking place this year on April 19th and 20th. Thousands of people from around the world come to our charming hamlet to view the cheerful blooms set against the looming snow-capped peaks of the Cascade mountains and relish the opening weekend for many of our local fruit, food and craft stands located all along the Fruit Loop.
Here at The Fruit Company we’re cleaning up the store for its one-day-only debut, to happen on Saturday the 19th, before closing again until Memorial Weekend. We fully encourage anyone who is taking the weekend to visit the Hood River Valley to stop by that day, say hi, and snag up any of the delicious gourmet goodies we’ll have on hand. We look forward to seeing you!No comments
by Becky, Operations Manager
Mt. Hood framed by autumn trees and rocky bluffs.
My husband and I had a great day mountain biking this past weekend. We trucked our bikes and dogs to Horsetheif Lake State Park, east of The Dalles on the Washington side of the Columbia River. The weather was exceptional and we were able to see quite a few deer and a 4-point buck in the rocky meadows and hawks circling overhead. The trail was a single track through tall grass and scrub oak trees and had a couple of hill climbs that overlooked the Columbia River with Mt. Hood in the background. We came across a chestnut tree that had Concord Grapes wrapped all through it, and they were absolutely perfect. It was a good natural sugar burst, not to mention delicious… my immune system surely got a boost from the grape seeds.
The dogs loved the deep piles of oak leaves.
Being autumn the leaves of the large scrub oaks are falling, and I couldn’t resist taking a photo of my dogs in the deep leaves. Trader, our 6 year old Samoyed, is in the process of attaining his “Working Title”. He is after all a sled dog and loves to do his job. He carried quite a bit of weight in his pack, not to mention doggie biscuits.
My husband and Trader with Oregon across the river.
This year we have taken our dogs on most of our rides….from the 23 mile round trip Deschutes River Trail (twice), to the short 3.8 mile ride we did this past weekend. While mountain biking I have taken over 600 photos just this year of this beautiful part of the country we live in. It’s a new hobby that we’ve all grown to really enjoy, and we live in the perfect place for it.
Me with the dogs and Horsetheif Butte, Lake, and a bit of Mt. Hood in the background.No comments
by Stephanie, Graphic Designer – Brand Manager
This year’s Harvest Festival rang in the season not only with a bounty of fresh produce and handcrafted goods, but also heavy doses of rain, rain, rain. Despite the inclement weather thousands flocked to the Hood River Expo Center to find a pumpkin, eat a New York City Sub, and get started on holiday shopping. We had a shiny, happy green booth right at the entrance, where we proudly displayed our catalog photos, new baskets, and (the most popular) ample samples of our Chocolate Covered Cherries, Blueberries, and Pistachios, among other fine edibles available for purchase.
There we also had the chance to meet a number of loyal customers and personally hand them the new catalog, which was more than well-received. In fact several began brainstorming ideas for business gifts for the holidays on the computer kiosk we had set up.
The above picture is our Fruit Buyer Nasario and myself at the booth with a young fruit lover signing up to win a 12 month HarvestClub Classic. I can’t tell you if she won or not, but she was determined and knew that by signing up herself AND her mother she was increasing her odds at winning. I had no idea raffles were taught in schools these days.
Overall the festival was a great time and we all had fun partaking in the fervor and appreciation for local goods and the beauty of the season. Raindrops and all.No comments
by Stephanie, Graphic Designer – Brand Manager
The region’s biggest event and celebration of the harvest season will start off with a (literal) bang this Friday. For the first time a dazzling array of fireworks worthy of any July 4th will light up the night sky over the Columbia River, kicking off 3 days of homegrown favorites, homespun crafts, homemade gourmet treats, and all around merry-making at the Expo Center. In short: food, beverages, music, buyables, frivolity.
This year we’re a happy sponsor of the event and will have a giant green booth (that’s grown to be more like an exhibit) featuring some of our gourmet chocolates and edibles, copies of our brand-spankin’-new catalog that debuts this week in mailboxes nationwide, actual pear trees, a computer kiosk for ordering gifts, and our smiling faces. If you visit us on Friday or Saturday and say the blog sent ya we’ll give you a free box of our famous Chocolate Covered Cherries just for being attentive out there in the blogosphere. We love you that much!
We’ve also uncovered some recognition for the Harvest Festival. The incessantly useful Epicurious.com’s blog Epi Log gave us a shout out in its listing of the best food events worth seeing in the country this week. The Best of Portland Blog lists the festival under a plethora of categories including Best Annual Events, Best Entertainment, and Best Art. The always impressive Travel Oregon proudly shouts out the festival in its Oregon Bounty feature. Considering it drew over 21,000 people last year it’s easy to see that the word has spread greatly over the past 25 years.
If you’re smart (and if you have a a free day or two) come see the festival and all the related events in the area this weekend. The foliage on the slopes of the Hood and Columbia Rivers is some of the finest in the nation (the Gorge is frequently named in the top 10 spots for colorful fall leaves) and truly at its peak right now. Celebrate the harvest with us and our friends! More information can be found with the Hood River County Chamber of Commerce. See you then!No comments
by Stephanie, Graphic Designer – Brand Manager
The summer is definitely nearing a close. The nights are chilly, the mornings crisp and clear, and the leaves throughout the Columbia Gorge are beginning to turn. That also means that we’re harvesting this season’s bounty of pears. In case you haven’t heard our proud boasting in our eNewsletter Fruition, Hood River County grows almost a third of the nation’s pears and we have dozens upon dozens of proud families growing pears throughout the valley.
This weekend is the Hood River Pear Celebration, timely enough, and almost all of the fruit stands, shops, and businesses (including The Fruit Company) along the Fruit Loop are celebrating our largest export. Take a winding tour along the loop through the orchards with views of stately Mt. Hood and charming vistas and enjoy the season’s bounty.
Speaking of bounty, TravelOregon.com has been a wealth of information about tourism in Oregon, including its celebration of the Oregon Bounty. Check out their fun website for further information on events, festivals, culinary delights, and more throughout our amazing state. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have a huge case of Oregon Ego, and the publications and various media produced by Travel Oregon only increase that tenfold.No comments
By Ryan, eCommerce Manager
On this past Labor Day I swam the Roy Webster swim for my third year in a row. It’s not really that difficult but pretty cool to say you swam across the MASSIVE Columbia River. Our team from The Fruit Company was the largest of around 21 people. Scott Webster, our CEO and President, convinced our Production Manager Pepe to swim, when Pepe’s swimming skills are little to non-existent (he might have almost drowned as a teenager). So…Pepe shows up to the swim with 2 wetsuits on, flippers, a kickboard, and one of those old school orange life vests. Needless to say it was quite amusing. My swim day started at 5am in the morning and everyone participating in the swim boarded the historic Sternwheeler and rode to the Washington side of the river. Where I jumped off the boat into the chilly Columbia River. The swim took me roughly 30 minutes and then after finishing I was greeted by other employees of The Fruit Company with fresh fruit for everybody participating in the swim. Everybody from The Fruit Company finished the swim(including Pepe) and then we went to a great breakfast together hosted by the Hood River Inn on the waterfront. Props to Roy Webster for starting this unique swim event and the Hood River Chamber of Commerce for hosting it each year.2 comments
by Stephanie, Graphic Designer-Brand Manager
We recently rediscovered this gem of a poem written by Scott and Addison’s grandfather, Roy Webster. Every year here in Hood River the community holds the Roy Webster Columbia River Cross Channel Swim on Labor Day weekend, in memory of a visionary orchardist and health enthusiast. He wrote this poem in 1984, when he was 83 years old. His last swim was in 1986 at the age of 85.
The Big Swim
Sometimes I feel my youth has been spent
When I think where my getup and go has went.
But nevertheless I can manage to grin
As I ready myself for the annual swim
Across the Columbia about a mile wide
From Washington State to the Oregon side.
There are kids in their teens and swimmers mature
Who succumb each year to the swimmathon lure
Of the cross-river swim– not too far away
Held up in Hood River on each Labor Day.
It tickles me pink to think I still swim
When I think where my getup and go has been!
So once again for the fortieth time
I’ll be swimming the river as I did in my prime.
And hoping the weather is sunny and warm
With no clouds in the sky and no trace of a storm.
For 200 or more are planning to swim it
Which is this year’s maximum security limit.*
Not a race, nor a contest, but just an achievement
To accomplish a goal– and thus bring appeasement
To tha turge that lies dormant in everyone’s soul
To do something noteworthy however modest the goal.
And so to each swimmer who embarks on the swim–
Good luck and good swimming as you respect win.
Respect of those who wish that they too
Could swim as well and as far as you!
* – Now the “maximum security limit” is 500 people, rather than 200. Sign up now if you’re in the area and swim for Roy!No comments
by Stephanie, Graphic Designer-Brand Manager
Every year my family comes together for our annual sweet cherry harvest on our 30 acres of land in The Dalles, Oregon. It never fails to be hot, dusty, stressful, and altogether a rewarding and fun experience. Here’s how my day broke down on July 4th this year, our first day of cherry harvest.
4:15am: Alarm comes on. Half-conscious, I hit snooze and fall back asleep.
4:24am: Alarm comes on. For three more minutes I sleepily try to barter another few moments of sleep before I realize why I’m getting up at such a hideous hour.
4:44am: I’m out the door with a travel mug of coffee and a handful of grapes, dressed in clothes to get grubby, and ready to start Harvest 2007.
5:00am: The entire crew meets by the giant pine tree on my Dad’s property to discuss people’s roles, what fruit we’re picking that day (Bing cherries), and how we’re picking them. Everyone caravans over to what we call Field 3 with clouds of dust filling the crisp morning air. Mt. Hood gleams pink and orange in the early light.
5:20am: We have about 68 pickers this year, divided into “teams”. The pickers each grab a ladder and head off to their designated orchard rows. I’m a “bin-checker” this year, which means I record the number of buckets each picker on my team picks (say that 5 times fast), while making sure that the fruit is being harvested properly and that everything runs smoothly with our team.
6:15am: My stepsister Brooke drives by and calls me some ridiculous nickname, as is our harvest tradition. She came up from San Francisco to drive tractor for the harvest this year, which she’s done every year since we first started about 5 years ago. Half the reason we have so much fun is because she and I goof around whenever feasible. Call it sisterly bonding.
7:05am: The fruit is looking pretty decent this year. Not as big as in years past, but not too shabby. Via our walkie talkies I find out that as usual, the outside orchard rows that a couple other teams are picking have small fruit and have some bird damage. But the cherries in my 4 rows? Gorgeous. Try not to pick at least one.
7:30am: My team is doing a great job. They’re working fast and I’m having way too much fun pronouncing their names, albeit with an Italian accent instead of Spanish. Many of our regular pickers are back this year from their homes in California, so remembering names hasn’t been too difficult.
[coolplayer width="280" height="180" autoplay="0" loop="0" charset="utf-8" download="1" mediatype=""]
8:45am: A weak horn honks in the distance. That can only mean the taco truck is here, barely navigating the winding dirt roads out to where we’re located. I yell out “Lonche!” for lunch and everyone runs to where the dilapidated grey van has parked. I’ve been dreaming of the taco truck’s tamales all day, and am not disappointed by 3 hot ones wrapped up in foil. A few other checkers and I sit in the shade of a tree and savor the authentic goodness. I was so excited I forgot to take pictures.
9:20am: Everyone’s faithful sidekick Porter lays down in the shade next to me, panting from his travels throughout the orchard. He loves all the new smells and activity that come with a field full of people on a hot day.
10:05am: It’s hot. Like, stupid hot. Today’s high is supposed to be 104 degrees and it’s already… well I don’t know, but it’s hot.
10:15am: Dad radios in and says our quitting time will be noon today. Anything later and the fruit becomes too soft and prone to damage. The stems pull out too easily and the flesh bruises with the slightest touch at that heat.
11:00am: Bathroom break. I run up to a porta-potty (that doesn’t stink!) and find vague amusement at the hand washing station parked next to it. I refrain from drinking the water.
11:15am: I’ve held back all day, but now I’m eating cherries. Especially our Rainiers, which we use as pollinizers in the Bing blocks. They have a little wind damage from the high winds we had earlier in the season, but again they are simply lovely.
11:30am: To keep the harvested cherries from getting too hot, we cover each full bin with a square piece of foam that’s been soaked in water. Before they’re loaded onto the truck at the bottom of the hill they’re sprayed with water again to keep them cool until they reach the warehouse 25 miles away. There they go through a system that cleans, cools, sorts and packages the cherries for distribution. They’ll be in a grocery store near you within 48 hours.
12:00pm: Quitting time! We bring out coolers full of cold soda for the workers and gather up all of the near-empty water coolers and cups. Pickers run up to their checkers and enthusiastically ask what their total bucket count was for the day. My best guy had 34 buckets, but another on a different team had an astounding 71. I yell a tired “Hasta manana!” to my team and shuffle back to my hot car, ready to go home for a shower and maybe an air conditioned nap.No comments
by Ryan, eCommerce Manager
Hood River has a 4th of July annual parade. The parade is a great opportunity for the community to come together. The community allows anyone to enter and this leads to many interesting entries into the parade, which can consist of anything from a float, to bikes to people walking with signs. It makes for a very LONG and unique parade. The Fruit Company express/tractor pulling cars cruised the streets of Hood River for the parade throwing out candy and greeting the crowds, we did not get any pics of the tram in the parade, sorry. The 4th of July parade reminds you of how great this small little community of Hood River is. For more info and pics of the parade visit the Hood River News.
I took part in the annual 4th of July run. This was my first race and what a blistering day to run, like 90 degrees. The last section of the race runs right alongside the parade. It was awesome to hear everyone cheering (not for you but the parade) but still nice and motivating. Hope everyone else had a great 4th.No comments