Editorial: Heart of the harvest

October 12, 2011

Looking ahead to this weekend's Harvest Fest, a warm welcome goes out to visitors and vendors, and for locals, a reminder that the event is an excellent opportunity to enjoy the bounty of our county (details on pages A9-10).

The weather outlook looks damp, but there will be tents, and Harvest Fest happens rain or shine. The event has a little something for everyone, from fresh fruit to a beer garden to a wide variety of Gorge artisans.

Timed with the 2011 harvest and accompanying celebrations, there's a new and enjoyable way to explore Oregon's rich diversity of farms and farmer's markets, in he warmth of your home.

The Oregon Farm Explorer (http://oregonexplorer.info/farm) maps Oregon's rural and urban connections through an exploration of farms and markets using a variety of data collections, mapping tools, stories and other resources.

"The Oregon Farm Explorer presents a wonderful opportunity to learn about the bountiful food produced in Oregon," said Anita Azarenko, head of Oregon State University's horticulture department, "including what is raised here, where it is produced, and where to find it."

The site allows visitors to find local, fresh, farm-grown produce, meats and cheeses with the Farmers' Market Finder and its interactive maps, as well as to learn about agricultural and horticultural crops and the livestock and dairy industries that support Oregon's economy.

The site highlights the Oregon Century Farm andch Program and can trace the spread of agriculture through the establishment of farms and ranches. A specially designed viewer maps farms and ranches that have received century and sesquicentennial awards, and provides detailed information by county.

The Oregon Farm Explorer was developed as a collaborative effort of the OSU Libraries, Oregon University System's Institute for Natural Resources and the OSU College of Agricultural Sciences.

It gives a well-rounded big picture of the vital connection of the farmer to Oregon consumers, and is an excellent embellishment to the information on the Oct. 14-16 Hood River Harvest Fes, at the Chamber of Commerce website, hoodriver.org,

"Relationships are the heart of farmer-to-consumer commerce," writes Peg Herring on the Explorer site. "Keep that in mind when you drive through rural areas and come upon the least-sophisticated method to bring home local vegetables or flowers. Bless the trusting farmer and remember to leave your payment in the jar."

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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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