Survival Bros recently had the opportunity to tour The Fruit Loop near Mt. Hood. This abundant area is less than 1 hour from Portland. We checked out farms, orchards, vineyards, lavender fields, and even an alpaca ranch. It was a scrumptious trip. I stocked up on all sorts of goodies, and tried every free sample imaginable.
The first spot we rolled up on was Mt. View Orchards Inc. My parents have been there before, and already knew they had some of the best prices on fresh fruit. We were in the market for a variety of apples, blueberries, and peaches specifically, since they are in season now and being celebrated. This fruit stand is located in Parkdale, with a spectacular view of Mt. Hood. The fruit looked even better, and I took the opportunity to use a fruit picker to snag the choicest peaches growing on huge, abundant trees. There were several types to try, including excellent tiny donut-shaped peaches. After picking a box full, we headed to the store there to pay and try all the samples. There was apple cider, dried pears with cinnamon-sugar, raw honey, fudge, and every kind of jam and peppered jelly you could imagine. Calorie restriction didn’t cross my mind. Before we bounced to the next farm, I examined and swooped up six ears of sweet corn for a buck.
Next stop was Draper Girls Country Farm. They offer U-pick and We-pick varieties of cherries, nectarines, pears, prunes, etc. However, Survival Bros and Co. were more interested in the goats and pigs. They are USDA approved, and so damn cute. We said hi to them, snapped pictures, tried their fruit samples, and rolled on. We got most of our fruit at the first stop. Draper Girls were pretty proud of their bounty, but it’s still cheaper than the grocery store. Fun place, and beautiful. They made me crave some fresh goat milk for sure. If you’re looking for a vacation, Draper Girls rents out the farm house year round.
A short drive down the road was Cascade Alpacas and Foothills Yarn & Fiber. Can’t say I’d seen an alpaca before. These goofy creatures have a purpose though. They produce soft yarn for knitting, crocheting, weaving, and spinning. The yarn shop had a huge selection of equipment, and gifts. I liked the beanies and socks, but spent my money on feeding the alpacas instead. They were hungrier than me! So I fattened them up with alfalfa pellets. I did try to eat an alpaca, but the owner said no. That would be like eating a horse. Which way to the BBQ? The alpaca farm was worth the trip. We even got to see some babies. They sheer the young ones for yarn after just a few weeks.
After nearly biting into an alpaca, I needed to relax. The Hood River Lavender Farms were next. It features epic views of Mt. Adams, Hood, and the Hood River Valley. The small gift shop had Lavender Oil, lotions, and other products derived from the 70+ types of certified organic lavender grown there. We didn’t stay long, or even pick a bouquet, but it was interesting. They were also growing hops on the shop, which was cool.
About this time we got hungry and ate lunch in town at an authentic Mexican joint. Then Survival Bros went to the Apple Valley Country Store and Bakery. I regret not getting their BBQ. How about some cherry-wood smoked ribs? Instead I opted for marionberry pie with Tillamook vanilla ice cream. Here they had tons of free samples. Below is a photo of us putting apple butter on a cracker. I’d go back to this country store.
We made a quick stop at the Mt. Hood Winery. They had live music, and a big tasting room that wasn’t too crowded. I didn’t feel like spending $7 on a glass of Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Riesling, or anything else. I had a taste, but I think it was just too hot out, and my belly had had enough. I was most impressed with the vintage James Bond movie posters in the men’s restroom. I almost busted the camera out for those, but decided against the bathroom photography. It’s a nice place. Finally we traveled to The Gorge White House, where they serve Mt. Hood wines, and some 25 other local bottles. This historic home sits on a century old working farm. My crew sipped their hard ciders. I enjoyed the mixed berry variety. In The Gorge White House we drank a “Heritage Pear Wine.” It was tasty, so I took a bottle home for $19. There was lots going on here, between a bridal shower, the store, a food cart, tasting rooms, and a massive flower garden to explore. You’ll want to visit this farm. All said and done, nothing beats the splendor of Oregon’s Hood River County Fruit Loop. It’s 35 miles of vast orchards, farms, fruit stands and kind people. I did all this in a day, but you could easily spend two full days leisurely strolling along this community. Visit www.hoodriverfruitloop.com for more info. Thanks for stopping by the Survival Bros blog.