Fruit Loop

Driving east about 1 hour 15 minutes outside of Portland lands you in a remarkable spot – even an earlier time period. The winding hills, roads, picket fences and hand painted signs reading “Johnny-gold apples 89 cents/lb” evoke a simpler, certainly cheaper and lovely time standing still. It’s a place that flickers on a super 8 projection, so endearing and familiar. The “fruit loop” of Oregon is a group of about 25 farms, located within 8 or so miles of each other. Each establishment grows a little different produce and many have a bakery, cannery or other element to them – how could I forget Rasmussen’s corn maze!? A few don’t sell fruit at all, but have alpacas grazing on fields of wild grasses. These cute and curious animals shyly approach visiting humans, and will hoover a bit of fruit or millet right out of your hand. With their long eyelashes, perfectly applied liquid eyeliner eyes and varying level of curl hair-dos, they appear beauty queens, styled to the nines.

One farm has a “you-pick” flower field that has peonies and dahlias, but nothing can compare to the rows of creature-like sunflowers. Heads so big, they droop with their weight, looking as if they just participated in a collective sigh, and are now wearing their heads low.

The delicata squash are just emerging. Living in a wooden crate, toppling each other, looking like a group of sea creatures. The pumpkins dot the hillsides, hiding beneath large spiky leaves – a giant golden orange treasure to be found on our crisp fall day. Over 10 varieties of apples were found in just one farm – I tasted one on the way home, and I swore I never had an apple so full of “appley” flavor.

But the best part of all, by far, is roaming through the rows and rows of fruit trees. The paths feel endless, with pleasures beckoning to all senses. The branches so dense with fruit and so dazzling with fertility, it’s hard to keep you hands in your jacket pocket. The peace and feeling of a beautiful relationship with the land, food and the farmer is undeniable. And the calm, quiet—the only sound a little rustling of leaves. We run through the rows – dirt and mud squishing in our tennis shoes and immense blue skies ahead. It is a heaven-on-Earth type of feeling and place. We stop only to crash into the bank of hay, surrounding the perimeter of the farm. And, linger here we do, like a summer riverbank without the river. And bite into a Comice pear—lapping up the rich juice that runs down my arm, with delight.

1 comment:

  1. i love to read the words of a true sensualist. there aren't many of us in the world!