Taste slices of local fruit history

October 19, 2005

Fruit heritage surrounds us this time of year. Oregon’s premier pear territory and valley of luscious apples gives forth its bounty, as evidenced by last weekend’s Harvest Festival and Harvest Time events around the Hood River Valley.

Now it is the Heirloom Apple and Cider Festival’s turn. Fresh apples, and innumerable delectables made from apples, will be available up and down the valley, as well as many other tasty treats and examples of the vibrant rural economy of this county. Visit wineries to try award-winning local wines. Meet adorable alpacas and peruse items made from luxurious wool. Savor delicious baked goods and gourmet fruit products. Find flavorful chestnuts and chestnut products.

While Heirloom, like Harvest Fest, presents a cornucopia of goods, this weekend’s festival emerges as a local tradition primarily celebrating apples, especially the harder-to-find older varieties. They’re worth checking out, because they’ve been around for decades.

The fruit is a part of the county’s orchard history you can literally touch and taste.

The shining apple and pear history of the county further receives its due at the Nov. 4 “Remembering Our Roots” fundraiser dinner-dance-auction at the Fruit Heritage Museum building in Pine Grove.

The “Remembering Our Roots” exhibit is a new treasure that is free to the public in The Fruit Company’s 1939 Diamond Fruit Growers packing house on Van Horn Drive. The project deserves community support. The Fruit Heritage Foundation, Hood River County Historical Society, and a host of community volunteers are working to develop a central showcase of the fascinating history of growing fruit in Hood River County.

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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 www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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