down at the farm: Hood River County Fruit Loop
October 2014~Hood River, Oregon

From the top: an abundant fall harvest of apples, pumpkins, and pears at Smiley's Red Barn; picturesque 1908 home at The Gorge White House, where the owners raise exuberantly cheerful fields of Dahlias!  

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quick look

  • The Hood River County Fruit Loop is a 35-mile driving loop in the Hood River Valley of Oregon, where you can stop at farm stands, alpaca farms, wineries, eateries and more along the way, about an hour east of Portland
  • Our favorite thing: the prices on that fruit!!  We hadn't seen prices that low on apples, pears and more in awhile!  Sadly, we couldn't figure out how to haul enough home to make applesauce and pear butter, though.  

all about it

We made a couple of excursions over to the Fruit Loop during our vacation to the Portland area, and were just amazed at the bounty they grow in Oregon!  I could see how the early pioneers, who made the trek cross-country on the Oregon Trail, thought they'd found the Garden of Eden when they finally arrived here.  The orchards were just bursting with gorgeous fruit, flowers were in full bloom...I was ready to move!!  Just beautiful country.  

We enjoyed our stop at Smiley's Red Barn, which had a fun barn-style shop full of jams, jellies and more, plus huge crates of apples, pears, and pumpkins out front to choose from.  The employees were really lovely (if they thought our cries of delight over the low prices were ridiculous, they didn't show it) and helped us find everything we needed.  

From there we went on to Cascade Alpacas, which I wrote about separately here

Another day we drove back out and stopped at The Gorge White House, which had the most gorgeous fields of Dahlias I've ever seen in my life!  I hope they're relatively easy to grow, because when I have some space to call my own, I'm gonna try 'em.  I thought I liked roses but these little guys are just incredible in their varieties of color, texture and shape.  We didn't try the little eatery they had there, having (economically) packed PB&Js for our outing, but they did have a nice place to picnic.  The historic house on the property had a nice selection of locally-grown wines and offered wine tasting.  

The Hood River Fruit Loop is a fun day trip out of Portland--just make sure the places you want to visit are open, since most of the businesses have seasonal hours.