The Hood River County Fruit Loop is 35 miles of orchards, forests, farmlands, and friendly communities, with a drive that includes gorgeous viewpoints and vistas. Along the Loop are 31 visitor-friendly businesses: farm stands, wineries, alpaca farms, a chestnut farm, lavender fields, and gift stores. Fresh fruit and produce are available throughout the summer and early fall. Join us for these fall events: September 19-20 Pear Celebration & October 24-25 Heirloom Apple Celebration.
It’s early spring and the old-growth forests of Oregon are ripe with prized wild mushrooms hiding in plain sight. A simple walk through an area dense with trees might be the home to hundreds of different varieties of fungi. From spring kings to morels to oysters, wild mushrooms thrive in the wet and warming weather of a changing season.
IT’S THE DEAD OF WINTER, but the soil at Whistling Duck Farm is alive with tiny shoots that resemble the first hints of spring flowers. There are bulbs hiding under this patch of Southern Oregon ground, but they aren’t the kind that yield crocuses or daffodils. The 600-foot-long rows will produce another harbinger of spring: garlic.
If you want to pick a peck of peaches, Valley View Orchard is a sweet spot. The trees are expansive, planted in wide rows, with thick trunks and twisted branches. Then there’s the view from the orchard’s 100-plus-year-old farmhouse, where rows of peach trees slope down to a vineyard. Ashland is nestled below and conifer-studded hills are in the distance.
Lucie Gouin examines seeds from a friend’s tomato plant that she says tasted particularly good. On a plate at her kitchen table and labeled “9/23/13,” the heirloom seeds are among hundreds meticulously plucked, dried and saved for possible cultivation for the farm’s community-supported agriculture members. These luscious, thin-skinned heirlooms at the farmers’ market come at a price–and not just to the consumer. photo by Andrea Lonas They also sell at farmers’ markets, including the Saturday market near Portland State University. Poulos harvests vegetables Friday night. Gouin washes them into the wee hours, then he loads them and departs around 4:30 a.m. They joke that, by September, Poulos resembles a zombie. Heirloom tomato production begins the previous season, by picking and saving seeds from the best plants. “Harvesting and saving heirloom tomato seed is like collecting dying wishes,” quips Gouin. “It is practically an obligation and comes with the promise…