Better Homes & Gardens picks the McCurdys

Magazine features local orcharding family


Malcolm McCurdy weighs pears at the McCurdy Farms fruit stand.

It has been two years in the making but the McCurdy family of Hood River, and their orchard, has finally gained national exposure. The family is featured in the September issue of Better Homes and Gardens magazine, which has a circulation of 7.6 million and hit the newsstands about a week ago.

“This is huge,” said Kaye White, Hood River Fruit Loop marketing director.

“This type of coverage is a very positive thing for Hood River. Putting a positive light on a community in the national media is something you can’t buy with advertising dollars,” said Bill Fashing, Hood River County’s Economic Development Coordinator.

According to Heather McCurdy, who owns McCurdy Orchards along with her husband Craig, it all began in the fall of 2001. Steve McCarthy from Clear Creek Distillers, whose brandy-bound pears are grown by the McCurdys, knew one of the scouts from Better Homes and Gardens. The magazine was looking to do a feature article on some aspect of the pear industry. McCarthy quickly suggested the McCurdy family. The magazine came to Hood River two years ago, but were faced with horrible weather and therefore unable to do an article.

“They couldn’t even see Mt. Hood, or the pear trees right across the road,” McCurdy said.

“It was a year before we heard back from them, I almost forgot about it.” The magazine came back in September of 2002 and did a two-day photo shoot, taking 100 rolls of film.

The magazine does every article one year in advance. Naturally, the McCurdys were interested in seeing how the article would appear one year after it was written.

“It shows the popularity of a farm family to the general public,” White said.

“I was impressed, I thought the photographs were outstanding,” Heather said. West Coast editor Sharon Overton wrote the article, and Edmund Barr took the photos.

“More than the effect the article had on my family, it has more of an impact for the pear industry. To show that there are regular families trying to grow pears and run a business,” Heather said. “I think the pear recipes at the end of the article were one of the best features because that will bring pear consumption up.”

In addition to the McCurdys themselves, many people depend on the pear industry; just in their orchard the McCurdys employ roughly 25 families. Heather and Craig also assist in running the orchard owned by her parents, Rick and Sydney Blaine.

“It’s much bigger than just passing it down from generation to generation,” Heather said.

Within a few days of the magazine’s release, the McCurdys have already had one person stop by their fruit stand wanting to see the family and orchard.

McCurdy’s fruit stand, located on Tucker road, is open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and features a variety of pears along with other fruit stand favorites.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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