The Smith Family Fall Bucket List includes an important and challenging objective: “go apple picking.” Today we fulfilled that objective, and it was very fun.
We loaded up in the car and headed east through the Columbia river gorge. As is typical on road trips, I was the only one awake (but I don’t mind). Our destination was the Hood River County Fruit Loop, which is a confederation of orchards on the north slope of Mt. Hood. The area is known especially for pears, but they have apples as well, and some farms had “u-pick” arrangements. We went with Mt. View Orchards.
We arrived a bit before the bigger crowds, but there were still a lot of people there, including a Christian motorcycle club. We parked in between two apple trees and set out. There was a main fruit stand area with more varieties of apples than I knew existed, pears, squash, pumpkins, corn, jams, cider, and donuts. Quite the sight! But we decided to go picking first.
We selected our trusty red wagon and loaded it with an empty box. Then we set forth down a random row of trees. Here’s the secret to apple picking: you find tasty-looking apples and you pick them. It is so easy even a child could do it. So we picked a bunch. Some for us to eat, and maybe learn to make applesauce. Six Granny Smiths for an apple pie. Some pears for Elias to eat. We like what we saw so much, I hope we can use them all.
After the picking we headed back to the fruit stand area to checkout. We added some corn and squash and I got some jam to go with it. Then we found a table to sit down at for our lunch. There was free apple cider which I enjoyed, and we ate some of the fruit of our labor. We were happy to see a couple we know from our church.
Finishing the cleanup from lunch we visited the restroom and then made our way to the street. As it happens, another item on the Bucket List is to go on a hay ride. We were in luck because the orchard operates one, with frequent service. We got to see more of the orchard, and even meet some unique animals.
So it was a very fun family outing on a Saturday. We’ll be enjoying the apples and pears for quite some time, but the memories will last longer.