Fill a shopping cart with unique varieties at Kiyokawa orchards

Kiyokawa Orchards offers four varieties of U-pick apples this weekend

Photo by Kirby Neumann-Rea.
Kiyokawa Orchards offers four varieties of U-pick apples this weekend

Editor’s Note: Kirby Neumann-Rea slacked off and went on vacation last week, and waited until after deadline to write a “Tales of the Fruit Loop” piece, while reporters Adam Lapierre, Ben McCarty, Julie Raefield-Gobbo and Esther Smith all turned in their articles on time for the Oct.17 Kaleidoscope feature. The locations were chosen more or less at random; there are numerous other wonderful places to visit. So look for photos of some of the other Fruit Loop attractions in our Harvest Festival coverage next week.

PARKDALE — Visitors or locals can expect something they’ve never seen before at Kiyokawa Family Orchards in Parkdale.

On a visit Friday with my friend Lee, from Ohio, there was something at the fruit stand I’d never noticed, despite making 6-8 visits every fall to Randy Kiyokawa’s spread.

(I counted at least five varieties of apples or pears I’d never heard of. Every year Randy seems to have a new, often unique, variety to share. The fruit stand also features one of the largest selections of crunchy Asian pears in the valley.)

The main new thing, for me, was the shopping carts. I am told they’ve been in use there for years. I just never noticed them — probably because I was making a bee-line for the famous Comices, known as the Cadillac of pears.

The carts are just one more surprising touch to a place that bustles with activity and bursts with fruit every fall. If its range of fruit is not the largest in the county, it comes close.

This visit I tried the lemon-sized Butter pears, unique to Kiyokawa. The smooth quality befits the name; get them while you can.


Lee was visiting from his home in Toledo, for the 2012 Homecoming at Linfield, where we became friends. Lee grew up in an agricultural area of northern California and spent his college years at Linfield and U of O. Lee has a fine eye for beauty; his Facebook posts and photos from Toledo make Lake Eerie look downright romantic, and I never knew anyone with such an appreciation for Oregon clouds.

So it was fun to see what surprised Lee at this rural orchard: the kiwi fruit arbor next to the parking lot. “I didn’t know they grew that way,” he said.

The trellised arbor was impressive for its thick, green canopy. A mother and child sat under it, eating yogurt to go with the fruit they had just purchased.

Though there are orchards closer to Mount Hood, just up Clear Creak or Cooper Spur roads, part of the charm of Kiyokawa’s is that it is the southernmost fruit stand in the county. Yet it is hardly out of the way, and draws numerous visitors who enjoy the bounteous pre-picked bins or grab a basket, or shopping cart, and venture out for the u-pick.

Just leave some Comice for me.

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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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