FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Summer’s Bounty

by Patricia Vanikiotis

Jul 25, 2020

A few weeks ago I wrote about the gifts my garden gives me, both tangible and spiritual, but it does have its limitations. I don’t have the space (nor the time nor energy, either!) to grow everything I’d like, but thankfully I don’t have to go far from home to enjoy all kinds of locally grown fruits and veggies. Both the calendar and the weather (with highs reaching above 100 this past week) proclaim we’re at the peak of the summer growing season, and the season’s bounty is on full display at farm stands, farm stand growers markets and orchards all through our valley.

A local CSA farmer operates a farm stand open to the public a few days a week just a mile from my home. Along with selling plums, peaches, salad mix and a few varieties of root vegetables, he also opens up his adjoining strawberry field to u-pickers. My daughter, grandsons and I visited a few weeks ago to introduce the boys to this quintessential Oregon activity (though more common in the Willamette Valley than here in the southern part of the state). I told the boys that my first summer job, at the age of about 10, was picking strawberries for pennies a pound. I was neither efficient nor prolific, but I learned early about hard work. Rising before dawn to pick in the cool of the day, I’d creep down a muddy row on my knees, shoving the wood flat ahead of me as it slowly filled with the sweet, fragrant fruit. Strawberry fieldsThen I’d lug the laden box all the way back to where it would be weighed and my punch card would be notched to mark my accomplishment. strawberries

The boys, ages 3 and 6, enjoyed our brief excursion, happily picking any berry that had even the faintest blush of reddish-orange and full of pride when they filled a box. I honestly think they got more pleasure from the experience in the field than from eating the berries later at home.

This week I stopped in at the largest farm stand in town, Seven Oaks Farm, as I’d heard the first crop of sweet corn was ready. sweet corn  Normally the farm draws families with its hay bale maze and petting farm with baby animals, but COVID has nixed those aspects. Visitors don’t pick out their own ears of corn from large bins as they used to, either, but I can testify that this first batch was tender and sweet. On a whim, I also grabbed a few cantaloupe cantaloupe and found them juicy and very sweet, too. I’m sure we’ll be making regular treks throughout the summer to enjoy the farm’s produce.

In a few weeks we plan to visit nearby Sugar Plum Acres to pick our own peaches. Last year we picked far more than we needed, but it was just too easy to fill our boxes peaches from the low branches crowded with fruit. peach orchard Thankfully, it’s easy to pick peaches while maintaining social distancing, and we plan to can up dozens of jars to enjoy the taste of summer all through next winter.

Yes, we’re taking advantage of the bounty of this season and our location in the midst of fertile fields and orchards. Hope you can search out nearby farm stands and growers markets to enjoy the fruits of summer as well!

— Patty Vanikiotis, associate editor/copy editor

 

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FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

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