Cherry season is coming to Oregon’s Hood River Valley.
Next month (July 20-21), dozens of farms along the valley’s 35-mile "Fruit Loop" will open their barn doors to welcome it during the Cherry Celebration, offering fresh-picked samples, u-pick orchard walks, wines, jams, juices, and more.
Admission to the farms will be free, and most are open from at least 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Call ahead for exact hours and parking information).
Here are some highlights:
- Draper Girls Country Farm hosts “Crazy for U-Pick Cherry Days.” Picking cherries is great family fun, and there’ll be plenty of ready-picked cherries, too. Sample fresh non-pasteurized cherry cider; choose honey and jellies and jams, including cherry jam. Fresh vegetables will be available, along with dried legumes, berries, gifts and antiques, and Grandma’s famous cinnamon-sugar dried apples.
- Take part in “The Cherry Jubilee” at Cherry Karma’s Purple Pit Stop. Sample freshly picked Rainiers, Bings, Vans, Stellas, Lapins and Lamberts, and choose your favorites. Homemade cherry pies, cherry brownies, and frozen cherries will be available during the weekend. Tour the family-run orchard, or relax on the patio with a delicious cherry smoothie.
- At Rasmussen Farms, the tradition continues. They promise the best selection of cherries in the valley, and also ship cherries. Find lots of cherry recipes and cherry products, cherry dessert, and fresh summer vegetables.
- Cherry pies, cherry cobblers, crisps, ice cream and milkshakes; fresh and frozen U-bake pies; more than 50 varieties of jams, syrups, and pepper jellies…all at Apple Valley Country Store’s Cherry Festival and Country BBQ. Then there is the BBQ—cherry wood smoked BBQ pulled pork and chicken sandwiches, pork ribs, and Polish sausages--all served with cider baked beans and pear cole slaw.
- Visit Hood River Vineyards and Winery to taste delightful Rainier Cherry, Black Cherry, and Peach Ports. There are many other fine wines to choose from, as well. All fruit is grown in their orchards, and the wines made at their scenic Hood River winery.
- Phelps Creek Vineyards will be joining the festivities with exciting pairings of savory cherry dishes with their estate grown Pinot Noirs and delicious dessert wines. Their cherry treats and wines will make you say “Wow!”
- Stop by The Gorge White House and sample fresh-picked, plump and juicy cherries. Learn the many ways to enjoy them, like the tasty cherry, bacon, and gorgonzola pizza available at their food cart.
For information about the Hood River Cherry Celebration (including a printable map of the participating farms), visit hoodriverfruitloop.com.