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, 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. Then 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.
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. 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 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 from the low branches crowded with fruit. 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
ARRIVAL/CHECK-IN: Climbing along the coast, I was trying to snap pictures of the cool-blue Puerto Vallarta waters outside my car window (I know, it never works) when we started winding along stone walls draped in jungle-like foliage. Annoyed my view was blocked, I looked around to see where we were just as we were parking at Hotel Mousai — I audibly gasped. The all-glass, chic and incredibly grand entrance was so well-secluded, it somehow snuck up on me.
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy, small businesses create two-thirds of net new jobs and account for nearly 48 percent of the U.S. private sector workforce. And small- and medium-sized businesses outpace all other sectors as one of the fastest-growing in the United States. InterContinental® Hotels Group (IHG) goes above and beyond to create opportunities for this segment with its IHG® Business Edge program, voted Best Small- to Mid-Sized Business Program in Global Traveler’s 2019 GT Tested Reader Survey awards.
Emirates added Seychelles (SEZ) to its list of recent flight resumptions, including Stockholm (ARN) and beefing up services to the Maldives (MLE). Emirates resumed Seychelles services Aug. 1, alongside the country’s re-opening to international tourists.
ARRIVAL/CHECK-IN: Arriving in Singapore is an easy affair as there are plenty of taxis for the 15-minute ride from Changi Airport, with little traffic. Coming into the circular drive of the famed Raffles hotel, you take in the view of this historic 1887 property. The equally famed doormen, dressed in traditional Sikh livery, greet guests and help with any requests.
Finding a beachfront Punta Cana all-inclusive resort for all ages can be daunting when you want to take home great memories with loved ones but also experience a sophisticated escape. Now, you can have both thanks to a new resort: Finest Punta Cana.
The United Arab Emirates announced all inbound travelers are required to carry proof of a negative COVID-19 test to show upon arrival. This requirement will be upheld by all the country’s airports and applies to residents and tourists alike.
Take Five at Saint Lucia’s famed Jade Mountain. The resort’s deal allows guests booking the signature Sky, Star or Moon sanctuary to receive their fifth night free, an offer valued at a savings of more than $1,200. The offer is valid for travel through Dec. 19. Learn more and book.
Though air travel slowed as airports temporarily closed and borders shuttered to stifle the spread of coronavirus, the airline industry — led by oneworld alliance member airlines — enacted enhanced protective measures to reduce risk and protect passengers.
Looking for a romantic getaway? At Couples Resorts in Jamaica, travelers can earn up to $500 in instant cash credits when booking a stay of five nights or more with the Couples Comeback offer. The offer is valid at all properties for bookings through Sept. 30. Travel by Aug. 31 for $500 in cash credits and Sept. 1–Dec. 24 for $400 in cash credits. Guests who provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result will receive a $100 resort credit. Book online.