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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